Wine 101: A Pairing Guide

Not only does wine pair well with food, it enhances the dining experience. Whether you highlight the similarities or emphasize the differences, pairing food and wine provides a memorable dining experience.

Here are a few of our favorite pairings that will leave you hungry and thirsty for more.

Sparkling Wines
The light fizz of champagnes and sparkling wines pair well with caviar, shellfish, smoked fish and cream cheeses.

Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Grigio
Rich in herbal character, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are crisp, dry wines. These aromatic, often fruity flavors are well suited for fish, shellfish, green vegetables or goat and sheep cheeses.

Riesling, Gewurztraminer & Chenin Blanc
Riesling are much lighter than other white wine varieties and typically taste fresh with hints of apples. Fruity, but not generally refreshing, Gewurztraminer is fruity with aromas of rose petals, peaches and allspice. Chenin Blanc is a rather versatile wine, with flavors varying from light and dry to sweet. Poultry, game birds, charcuterie, exotic spices and citrus are a nice compliment to Rieslings, Gewurztraminers and Chenin Blancs.

Chardonnay, Viognier & Semillion
Bold, ripe and rich, Chardonnay is rich in fruit flavors. Semillion, another white wine that is often blended with Chardonnay, is a balanced wine filled with complex fig, pear and honey notes. Chardonnay, Semillion and Viognier are all rich and complex pairing well with poultry, game birds, fish, shellfish, butter, cream and cow’s milk cheeses.

Rose Wines
Rose wines are filled with flavors of red fruit, flowers, citrus and melon. The bright acidity and refreshing characteristics make rose one of the most versatile wines. These blush wines are a wonderful addition to smoked meats, charcuterie, sausage, bold spices and mild to strong cheeses.

Gamay, Pinot Noir & Cabernet Franc
Also known as a Bordo, Cabernet Franc is typically blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Gamay is another wine that is typically served as a blend, typically with Pinot Noir. The chameleon of flavor, Pinot Noir can either be driven with fruit notes or more organic flavors of mushrooms and smoke. These mild red wines pair well with sausage, charcuterie, mild red meats, cherries, berries and aged or strong cheeses.

Merlot, Sangiovese & Tempranillo
Not as soft as Pinot Noir or bold as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is easy to drink, with hints of fruit, floral and spice. The backbone of Italian wines, Sangiovese has a medium to full bodied spice along with cherry, raspberry and anise flavors. This red can be served alone or in a blend with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. Indigenous to Spain, Tempranillo is acidic and medium bodied. Merlot, Sangiovese and Tempranillo all make a nice accompaniment to red and game meats, pork, veal, mushrooms, truffles and woody herbs.

Syrah, Zinfandel & Cabernet Sauvignon
Syrah is filled with spice flavors of black pepper, licorice, clove, thyme and bay leaf with fruit aromas. While Zinfandel is heady and full bodied with accents of raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry, cranberry and black cherry. Rich in fruit, spice and herbal aromas, Cabernet Sauvignon along with Syrah and Zinfandel pair well with red meats, game meats, sausages, black pepper, aged hard cheese and blue cheeses.

Cheers to good food, good wine and good times!

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