Wine and Food Pairing Tips

5 Mins read

Wine and food pairing is the art of finding the right balance between food and wine. It’s an exciting and sometimes mind-boggling process, but one that shouldn’t be difficult.

A good rule of thumb is to match foods with complementary flavors. This includes acidity, tannins, body, and sweetness.


Acidity is an important aspect of wine and food pairings because it brings out flavors that might not have been noticeable before. This is particularly true of white wines because they tend to be more acidic than reds.

However, the balance between acid and food should be in place to ensure that both complement one another and create a harmonious experience for your guests. If the food and wine have too much or too little acidity, they will both taste flat.

A common scenario that causes this is a salad with vinaigrette. When the vinaigrette is too high in acid, it will compete with the wine and make the wine taste flat or flabby.

For this reason, a great rule of thumb is to pair an acidic dish with a wine that has a higher level of acidity. A high acid wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling will go great with a salad with an acidic vinaigrette.

Some other foods that are acidic and should be paired with an acidic wine include: citrus fruits, tomatoes, roasted vegetables, cheese, grilled fish and fresh herbs. This is because the acid in these foods will actually cut through the flavor of the wine, bringing it into balance with the rest of your meal.

Other foods that should be paired with an acidic wine are light meats and fish with savory sauces, especially if the meat has a strong acidic component. This is also the case with fried or cheesy dishes.


Tannin is a complex compound that contributes bitter and astringent flavors to wine. It can also be found naturally in rhubarb, tea and chocolate.

Red wine tends to have a higher amount of tannin than white wines. This makes it less palatable to some people.

A good food and wine pairing is a balance between the components of a dish (body, acidity, sweetness, alcohol, etc.) and the components of a wine (tannin, acidity, sweetness).

Heavier dishes can pair well with lighter wines. For example, sous vide chicken breasts seasoned with green herbs love dry, white wines like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

On the other hand, heavier meats like brisket pair better with fuller bodied wines that are higher in tannins. This is because the fat in the meat works to reduce the effect of the tannins in the wine, which softens the astringency and accentuates the richness of the meal.

The same goes for vegetables: spinach, asparagus and artichokes are usually rather acidic, but they can be paired successfully with slightly sweet or fat-based foods that mute the acidity.

Foods can also have a texture sensation or element that is different from the wine – a warm food-cold wine contrast, for example. Flavor contrasting is a very personal aspect of wine and food pairing: some foods can only take certain flavors, such as fishy/herbal or smoky/flowery.

Aside from the body, acidity, sweetness and alcohol, tannins are one of the most important factors in pairing a wine with a meal. If the tannins in the wine are not a match for the food, then it will be unpleasant to drink.


Wine and food pairing tips are an important part of any well rounded meal. When done correctly, wine and food can amplify each other to create an overall experience that is second to none.

There are a few main factors that make for a good pairing. They include acidity, tannins, sugar, alcohol and bitterness. However, these are not the only factors to consider.

The body of a wine is also a factor to keep in mind. A light bodied wine is comparable to water in the mouth, while a full bodied one feels more like heavy cream. Hence, it is always best to match light bodied wines with lighter foods and full bodied ones with heavier ones such as steaks and salads.

Aside from body, other things to keep in mind when it comes to wine and food pairing are aromas, flavors and textures. Pay attention to the six major flavor profiles, namely acidic, fatty, bitter, salty, sweet and spicy.

Bitter, oxalic and unoaked vegetables tend to pair better with wines that have a low alcoholic content and moderate levels of tannins. This may sound obvious, but it is often overlooked.

Another must have for a successful wine and food pairing is congruence. This means pairing foods with similar tastes or aromas that amplify each other, such as chocolate with sweet wine.

It is important to remember that wine and food pairings do not have to be overly complicated. Just be sure to know your wines and foods and take the time to do a bit of research to get the most out of each dish. This way, you will have a better chance of enjoying your meal and finding a match that makes both of you smile!


Sweetness is one of the most important flavor qualities that you need to think about when trying to match wine with food. Depending on the food and wine you are pairing, sweetness can help balance tartness in your meal.

When you are thinking about food and wine pairings, you may feel overwhelmed by the wide variety of flavors that are out there. But if you remember the basic rules, you should be able to pair wine with almost any food.

The first rule is to make sure that the wine you are pairing with is a bit sweeter than the food it is going with. This will not only allow the flavors to balance but it will also keep the sweetness in the wine from being overwhelmed and stripped of its taste.

Another important rule is to keep the salty taste of the food in check. This is because too much salt in a dish can be very overpowering and can ruin the entire dish.

Spicy foods are a great way to pair with a wine because they can both complement and contrast with it. For example, a spicy dish will increase the acidity and bitterness in the wine and can also decrease its body and sweetness.

When you are looking for a wine that pairs well with a spicy food, look for a wine that has low alcohol and a high level of tannins like Sangiovese or Pinot Noir. These wines can help cool down the hot pepper spiciness of the food and bring out its richness and savory taste.


Salt is one of the most important aspects of wine and food pairing. This is because salt can dramatically alter the taste profile of a wine. This is especially true for fried foods, pasta sauces, and potatoes.

The best pairings for salty foods are sparkling wines and acidic wines. Sparkling wine is a great option because it has more carbonation which helps cut through the saltiness and balances out the meal.

Acidity is another important aspect of wine and food pairing because it can amplify different flavors in the food. This can be a great way to pair a sweet dish with a bitter wine or an acidic dessert with a fruity wine.

Final Words

There are six primary flavors that are commonly found in food: salt, fat, acid, bitter, sweet, and spicy. Each of these has its own distinct qualities that must be considered when pairing wine with food.

While the main focus of wine and food pairing is to enhance your experience of eating and drinking, it is also important to make sure that you are choosing the right bottle of wine for you. If a sommelier swears by a red wine with a duck confit, do not assume that you are going to enjoy this combination.

A good wine and food pairing should bring the two flavors together to create a harmonious experience that you are sure to enjoy.


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