Wine and food pairing is one of the most fun and creative ways to learn about wine. There’s a science behind how well (or not well) food plays with wine, and there are many generally accepted rules. But remember—some rules are meant to be broken.
In general, when pairing wine with food, you can follow some classic guidelines. Grab a bottle (or several) from your favorite St Helena wineries and follow these tips to start wine and food pairing like a pro.
White wines go with lighter dishes
White wines have subtle aromatics that and can easily be drowned out by heavy dishes. Stick with lighter dishes that feature white meat, fish, or fresh vegetables. You might experiment with fresh spring herbs, creamy sauces, or citrus dressings.
Try Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc with seared scallops, grilled chicken breast, and Mediterranean salads.
Red wines go with hearty dishes
St Helena wineries specialize in bold red wines that pair perfectly with hearty, nourishing dishes. Go for reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Pinot Noir. These wines complement dishes that showcase grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and red sauces.
Try Pinot Noir with mushroom risotto, Merlot with barbecue ribs, or Cabernet Sauvignon with lamb roast.
Rosé goes with everything
Rosé is an incredibly versatile style of wine, which makes it a winner at every kind of meal. This is the perfect choice for potlucks, holiday dinners, charcuterie, and even brunch. From salads to grilled meats, rosé is up for the task.
Try it with homemade paninis, enchiladas, smoked salmon, or bolognese.
Sweet wines are for dessert
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll find a heavenly match in dessert wines and your favorite sweet treats. Moscato, Port, Sauternes, and late-harvest Rieslings are all made for the end of your meal, but they can also be paired with funky cheeses.
Try Port and cheesecake, Sauternes and gorgonzola, or a late-harvest Riesling and peach cobbler.
How to keep wine and food pairing interesting
Once you get to know the ground rules for wine and food pairing, you’ll find you gravitate towards some tried-and-true favorites. However, be sure to think outside of the box and try new counterintuitive pairings like devilled eggs and red blends, sparkling wine and sweet potato fries, and more!
Through this process, you’ll learn what you love and you’ll discover new, unheard-of pairings that you can share with your loved ones on special occasions.