When choosing wine pairings it can be hard to know which wines to pair with type dishes you have made. With sparkling, white, rosé and red wines to choose from the options can seem endless. Here are some recommendations for any dish, including wine pairing for everything from snack and hors d’oeuvres, to main dishes and even desserts.
Snacks and Hors d’oeuvres | Sparkling Wine and Cocktails
Little bites pair perfectly with sparkling wine! You will want to select a dry style of sparkling, around a Brut or drier. Prosecco, Champagne, Cava, or a local sparkling are all great options.
Prosecco is made in the northwest region of Veneto, Italy. It is a bright sparkling with notes of green apple, honeydew melon, pear, honeysuckle and cream. Champagne, made in the Champagne region of France is more nutty with notes of citrus, peach, white cherry, almond and toasted bready notes. Cava is made in the Penedes region of southern Spain. it is similar to champagne but with bolder herbaceous notes of citrus peel, dried flowers, quince and wild fennel.
Soups | Light White Wine
Soup live in harmony with Light Bodied White Wines that are easy on the palate. For green veggie soups stick with options like Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, or a Southern Rhone blend of Marsanne and Roussane.
Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor profile varies from France to New Zealand but there are common notes that define this wine. Expect flavors of gooseberry, lime, green apple, passionfruit, lemongrass, green pepper and wet stone. Grüner Veltliner is predominantly from Austria. The name translates to “Green Wine of Veltlin” and the wine has notes of lemon, lime, grapefruit, nectarine, white pepper, tarragon, ginger and honey. Southern Rhone whites are often made from a blend of Marsanne and Roussane. These two grapes complement each other so perfectly to make a wine with notes of fresh flowers, peaches, herbs, pears, spice, roasted nuts and hints of pepper.
For cream leading soups, stick with options like Chablis, South African Chenin Blanc, or Soave Classico.
Chablis, is made in the northern reaches of Burgundy in France. Chablis are frequently described as having citrus and white flower aromas with dry, lean, light-bodied flavors of citrus, pear, minerality and salinity. South African Chenin Blanc is made across the region and taste on a different vibe in the glass than French Chenin Blanc. These wines have notes of yellow apple, quince, bruised apple, jasmine, chamomile, hay and saffron spice.
Appetizers and Meal Starters | Full White Wine
Small appetizers feature meats, seasonal vegetables, starches (like pasta) and sauces pair great witg Bold full-bodied whites can pair well across different food choices. There is a lot to choose from when picking a full-bodied white wine, included oaked and unoaked selections.
White Burgundy is made of Chardonnay and is aged in French oak barrels, called barrique. Wines from great regions like Côte de Beaune have notes of meyer lemon, golden apple, golden pear, quince, and yellow plum; with fresh, earthy aroma of white button mushroom. Aged in new oak these wines balanced with aromas of cinnamon, toasted almonds, and toasted bread. Viognier, made in the Northern Rhone of France, is a wine with a bold texture and and a range of aromas and flavors from lighter flavors of tangerine, mango and honeysuckle to creamier notes of vanilla with spices of nutmeg and clove. Californian Chardonnay has its best examples coming from Sonoma County. These wines have heavier oak aging than their french counterparts in Burgundy. With notes of crisp pear, guava, lemon-peel and apple, the oak aging adds strong hints of butter, vanilla and toffee.
Arnies, often called white Barolo, is made in the northern Italian region of Piemonte. Arnies is a wine with very fragrant aromatics but dried on the palate, showing notes of pear and apple, stone fruits and nutty notes. Friulano’s best examples are from the region of Friuli Venezia-Guilia, Italy. This wine is similar to Sauvignon Blanc, however it has a bolder presence on the palate with notes of grapefruit, green pear, white peach, tarragon and crushed gravel.
Salad | Rosé
Salads can be classic like a Caesar salad or more risqué like an endive and treviso salad with toasted walnuts. Either way they are a perfect pairing would be Rosé!
Tavel Rosé, made in southern France are a brilliant ruby red hue with notes of ripe strawberries, oranges, and hibiscus with a hint of allspice. It is a bold rosé that will make you question the bounds of this wine style. Provence Rosé, made just south of Tavel in Provence is a classic light coloured rosé. Made with a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre they are a pale pink rosé, with flavors of strawberries, fresh-cut watermelon, and rose petal, finishing with a salty minerality on the palate.
Fish | Light Red Wine
Although it is not commonly seen, Light Reds can pair great with fish, as they have a lift to them and light acidity that can pair well and not overpower the fish. Etna Rosso, Chianti Classico, and Pinot Noir are ideal options. All these wines have enough structure and complexity to pair well, and with a good lift in the finish of the wine to let the dish shine.
Etna Rosso wines are made from two indigenous Sicilian grapes; Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. These wines are light with bold aromatics of red flowers, complemented by flavors of cherries, cranberries and rocky-earthy spices. Chianti Classico is a made in the Chianti region of Tuscany, between Siena and Florence. Made from predominantly Sanvigoese and have notes of popurery aromatics and flavors of sour cherries, dried oregano, balsamic reduction, dry salami, espresso, and sweet tobacco
Meaty Mains | Full Red Wine
Bold meets bold for both food and wine, so it is no question that meatier dishes need a Full Bodied Red Wine. Pairing a wine to a rich dish calls for an equally rich, structure and concentrated wine; a full red is up to the task.
For beef, select a wine that is well structured, with romantic aromatics and bold tannins (those things in wine that make your mouth dry). Tannins are key because they keep your pallet revitalized and fresh for the next bite. Wine options like Bordeaux, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, and Brunello pair best.
Bordeaux is made from one of two blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, if you are on the Right Bank or Cabernet Franc and Merlot if you are on the Left Bank. Bordeaux are bold and well structured with notes of black currants, plums, and earthy notes of wet gravel or pencil lead. They are bursting with mineral and fruit notes that lead into savory and mouth-drying tannins. Californian Cabernet Sauvignon rich flavor and high tannin, they are also aged in new French oak. This makes for a wine with notes of black cherry, blackberry, roasted red peppers, complemented by baking spiced and vanilla aromatics.
Barolo, from northern Italy’s Piemonte region, is one of the big Italian reds. It is a bold wine that like its white wine counterpart Arneis is more aromatic with a high acidity and strong tannins on the palate. Barolos have notes of rose petals, cherries and raspberry sauce, cinnamon, white pepper, and, with age, licorice, leather, tar and chocolate. Burnello, a more medium bodied option depending on the winemaker, is made in Montalcino, Tuscany. Although on the lighter side have a bold kick of spice to them. Brunellos are made from 100% Sangiovese and have notes of preserved sour cherry, dried oregano, aged balsamic, red pepper flake, brick, and, with age, fig, sweet tobacco, espresso, and leather.
For lamb, with its delicate flavors, pick a wine that is a bit leaner, with bold spice notes, and equally elegant. Wine options like Barbera, Rioja, Hermitage, and Shiraz are a perfect fit. These wines have delicate fragrances and softer tannins. They also all show dark fruit notes and bold spices that will complement lamb dishes perfectly. For pork, with is subtle flavors and underlying sweetness when cooked, go for a wine that either mirrors or contrasts. For mirroring the flavors select a wine with a subtle sweetness and dancing spices like Zinfandel. Or contrast with a Brunello and cut the fatty meat with good structure and a bolded spiced finish.
Desserts | Sweet Wine
The desserts can be simple or extravagant. No matter what dessert you choose you are going to want to pair sweet with sweet. A good dessert wine has sweet notes but followed by a light acidity in the finish.
Moscato d’Asti is a light sparkling wine, called a frizzante, made in the Asti area of Piemonte, Italy. These wines are low in alcohol and have notes of orange blossom, fresh yellow apples and honey notes. Sauternes is a unique sweet wine from the southern reach of Bordeaux, France. This wine is made with dried grapes that have been attacked by botrytis, a fungus that forms on the grapes and gives the wine made from them more complex flavors. Called Noble Rot, botrytis increases the wine’s aromatic compounds, producing a more fruity, floral and toasty white wine. Ice wine is one of the most well-known Canadian wines. Made from letting grapes freeze on the vine before turning their juice into wine ice wines can bring out the sweetness in grapes and make a that has concentrated fruit flavors and a bright finish.