How to Choose the Perfect Wine Pairing for Any Dish


Few things go together as perfectly as wine and food. What could be better than a home-cooked meal and a glass or two of your favorite red or white? However, the practice of pairing wines and foods has become something of an art form, and it can leave people feeling overwhelmed and intimidated.

While the subject can get deep and complex, it is built upon relatively simple principles that anyone can pick up and understand. Learn these basic rules and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a wine and food pairing expert. Read on to check out our guide and learn how to choose the perfect wine pairing for any dish.

Think of Wine as an Ingredient

The key to successfully pairing wines is to think of it as another ingredient on your plate, a sauce if you will. This is essential and can give you a basis upon which to build.

For example, a deep, complex Chianti can be seen as akin to a meat ragu or a rich tomato sauce, which you wouldn’t dream of drizzling over a delicate filet of grilled fish. Thinking of wine as an extension of the ingredients on your plate can give you a greater understanding of what will work and what won’t and make you feel more confident in your pairing decisions as you move forward.

Balance is Key

Much like cooking, pairing wines is all about balance. You don’t want something that is too similar to the food you are eating, but at the same time going too far in the opposite direction can create disharmony.

This balance can be difficult to get right, and it’s not something you’re going to be able to do successfully right away. The key is to consider your decisions carefully. Pay attention to the ingredients and flavors of both your food and the wine, as these can give you a good idea of how balanced potential combinations may be.

Spicy foods can be particularly difficult to pair, but this is where you might discover Sauternes wines, which can complement spicy foods perfectly.

What About Dessert?

Dessert is traditionally eaten at the end of a meal. This could be due to the fact that sweet foods can reignite our hunger even after we’re full.

Regardless, dessert is an important meal, and it too can be paired with wine. The key to pairing dessert wines is to choose a wine that is sweeter than the dessert itself. This will ensure there is no bitter aftertaste and that all flavors blend harmoniously.

For a dessert with an acidic taste like a lemon tart, you have to contend with the citrus flavors too. A good choice here would be a sweet wine that contains a lot of acidity too.


Pairing wine can be tricky, but there’s no need to have special knowledge or experience to do it correctly. In fact, with a little research and patience, you can discover fantastic combinations that will truly elevate your meals. 


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