Are there Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairings?

Wine Guide | Top Gun Tours

Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairings

earthy flavors | Top Gun Tours

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Pinot Noir: Is great for dishes with earthy flavors

Recipes made with ingredients like mushrooms and truffles taste great with reds like Pinot Noir and Dolcetto, which are light-bodied but full of savory depth.


fish in rich sauce | Top Gun Tours

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Chardonnay: For fatty fish or fish in a rich sauce

Silky whites—for instance, Chardonnays from California, Chile or Australia—are delicious with fish like salmon or any kind of seafood in a lush sauce.


Salty Foods | Top Gun Tours

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Champagne: Is perfect with anything salty

Most dry sparkling wines, such as brut Champagne and Spanish cava, actually have a faint touch of sweetness. That makes them extra-refreshing when served with salty foods, like crispy udon noodles with nori salt.


red meat | Top Gun Tours

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Cabernet Sauvignon: Is fabulous with juicy red meat

California Cabernet, Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends are terrific with steaks or chops—like lamb chops with frizzled herbs. The firm tannins in these wines refresh the palate after each bite of meat.


dressings & sauces Top Gun Tours

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Sauvignon Blanc: Goes with tart dressings and sauces

Tangy foods—like scallops with grapefruit-onion salad—won’t overwhelm zippy wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde from Portugal and Verdejo from Spain.


cheesy dish | Top Gun Tours

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Dry Rosé: For rich, cheesy dishes

Some cheeses go better with white wine, some with red; yet almost all pair well with dry rosé, which has the acidity of white wine and the fruit character of red. For an indulgent cheese dish, try these Triple-Decker Baked Italian Cheese Sandwiches.


light fish dish | Top Gun Tours

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Pinot Grigio: Pairs with light fish dishes

Light seafood dishes, like seafood tostada bites, seem to take on more flavor when matched with equally delicate white wines, such as Pinot Grigio or Arneis from Italy or Chablis from France.


barbecue sauces | Top Gun Tours

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Malbec: Won’t be overshadowed by sweet-spicy barbecue sauces

Malbec, Shiraz and Côtes-du-Rhône are big and bold enough to drink with foods brushed with heavily spiced barbecue sauces, like these chicken drumsticks with Asian barbecue sauce.


fruit desserts | Top Gun Tours

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Moscato d’Asti: Loves fruit desserts

Moderately sweet sparkling wines such as Moscato d’Asti, demi-sec Champagne and Asti Spumante help emphasize the fruit in the dessert, rather than the sugar. Try it with these honeyed fig crostatas.


spiced dishes | Top Gun Tours

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Syrah: Matches with highly spiced dishes

When a meat is heavily seasoned—like cumin-spiced burgers with harissa mayo—look for a red wine with lots of spicy notes. Syrah from Washington, Cabernet Franc from France and Xinomavro from Greece are all good choices.


fresh dish | Top Gun Tours

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Grüner Veltliner: Pairs with dishes that have lots of fresh

Austrian Grüner Veltliner’s citrus-and-clover scent is lovely when there are lots of fresh herbs in a dish, like zucchini linguine with herbs. Other go-to grapes in a similar style include Albariño from Spain and Vermentino from Italy.


mousses and terrines | Top Gun Tours

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Zinfandel: For pâtés, mousses and terrines

If you can use the same adjectives to describe a wine and a dish, the pairing will often work. For instance, the words rustic and rich describe Zinfandel, Italy’s Nero d’Avola and Spain’s Monastrell as well as creamy chicken-liver mousse.


sweet & spicy dishes | Top Gun Tours

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Off-Dry Riesling: Pairs with sweet & spicy dishes

The slight sweetness of many Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and Vouvrays helps tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes, like this Thai green salad with duck cracklings.


dinner plate | Top Gun Tours

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Rosé Champagne: Great with dinner, not just hors d’oeuvres

Rosé sparkling wines, such as rosé Champagne, cava and sparkling wine from California, have the depth of flavor and richness to go with a wide range of main courses, like beet risotto.


Old World dishes | Top Gun Tours

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Old World Wines: Are intrinsically good with Old World dishes

The flavors of foods and wines that have grown up together over the centuries —Tuscan recipes and Tuscan wines, for instance — are almost always a natural fit. This pappardelle with veal ragù pairs well with a medium-bodied Chianti, for example.


End note

There are a lot more detailed specifications as to wine matching. For more details, you can always contact your local swan valley wine tours.


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