While ultimately whatever wine you like is what you should drink with your meal, there have been centuries of study on what wine pairs best with certain dishes.

Experts, known as sommeliers, have gone through years of research and experiments to determine how various wines from different regions fully compliment the flavor of the dishes you are enjoying.

Read on for a quick guide on the best food pairings for your wine of choice!

The General Rules

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that wine can either compliment or contrast with your food. It doesn’t just have to compliment. If you do decide you would like to compliment…pair bold food with bold wine, and light food with light wine.

Red wines, traditionally, go best with red meat. White wines pair well with poultry and seafood.

If purchase a bottle and are unable to finish it with your meal, instead of leaving it unopened (which will cause it to turn sour), you should look into a wine preservation system. These contraptions pull all of the air out of your bottle of wine so you can store it for a significant amount of time after you have opened it.

Red Wines

There are many different kinds of red wines, though you can also get red blends (which is a blend of all those different kinds). The four main types of red wines are as follows.


Merlot wines come from a black grape that originates out of the Bordeaux region in France. Food pairings that go best with merlot are drier foods like pork or veal, as well as charcuterie or pate.


Malbec wines pair best with foods that are fattier, such as salmon, as well as steak and game meat. Dishes that have a lot of sauce and rich flavor also make malbec a perfect alcohol pairing.

Cabernet Sauvignon

If you serving dinner that consists of prime rib, New York strip, or filet mignon, then you are best off pairing it with cabernet sauvignon. Cabernets also go very well with lamb.

While generally red wines don’t pair as well with seafood, cabernet sauvignon can be an excellent choice if you are enjoying ahi tuna, particularly if it is pepper-crusted.

Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is a very flexible wine that can pair well with many dishes. Steak, of course, but also vegetarian dishes such as mushroom risotto or vegetarian pasta are perfect combos.

White Wines

Just as there are many kinds of red wines, there are many types of white. The first white wines can be traced all the way back to Iran, around 7,500 years ago. While there are over 20 different kinds of white grape varieties that produce specific wines, the top three are as follows.


Chardonnay wines are excellent when paired with any chicken dishes, particularly those that come with a creamy sauce. Seafood with butter sauce is also perfect when combined with chardonnay.


Heralding from Germany, rieslings are exceptional when paired with light fish, and particularly raw fish. Asian food is also an excellent pairing with this incredibly versatile wine.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is very crisp and refreshing. Food pairings that go well with this wine are cheese, very light and herbal dishes or snacks, as well as oysters and tangy foods.

What Food Pairings Will You Choose for Your Wine?

With this guide as a starting point, you are well on your way to becoming a connoisseur yourself. What kind of food pairings will you choose for your next bottle of wine?

Want to see more culinary tips and cooking tricks? Check out our other articles here!