Wine Pairings 101
Updated: May 24
Nothing completes a meal quite like wine does. The right wine can take any meal from good to great! And the beauty about wine is that there are so many varietals. And with so many varietals come so many pairings! Wine pairing knowledge can come in handy in your personal life and in your business, whether you're making recommendations to complement a consumer's meal or putting a menu together. While learning which wines go with what type of food can be tedious, the RNDC team has done all the work to make it easier on you! Take a look at this list of wine varietals and their respective videos to get a deeper look into complementary food and wine pairings!
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular red wine varietals. It is often referred to as the king of the noble grapes. The boldness of cabernets should be accompanied by a dish equally bold such as red meat, mushrooms and hard cheeses.
Watch our Cabernet Sauvignon 101 video for a deeper look.
This wine varietal is incredibly versatile and has a flavor profile ranging from red fruit all the way to mushrooms and meat. Adding duck, mushrooms, salmon or tuna to the menu? Pinot noir pairs perfectly with that!
Watch Pinot Noir 101 video for a deeper look.
Don't forget about red zinfandel! This fantastically full-bodied wine gives off amazing notes that can range from coconut to vanilla (depending on how it's aged)! For robust menus that include beef, burgers, sausage, BBQ, lamb, pork, poultry, pizza and much more, consider pairing it with a red zinfandel!
Watch our Red Zinfandel 101 video for a deeper look.
The flavor profile of this lush, black grape varietal can be quite fussy, and so much about this wine depends on the climate in which it's grown. Although, most merlots typically do contain characteristics of red fruit.
Watch our Merlot 101 video for a deeper look.
Syrah (French) / Shiraz (Australian)
Syrah, or shiraz, is a full-bodied wine with black fruit, slight pepper and dark chocolate attributes. You'll find that it complements steak and other beef dishes, especially if it is grilled or cooked on an open flame. Pork, sausage and BBQ are just a few dishes that go exceptionally well with this wine!
Watch our Syrah/Shiraz 101 video for a deeper look.
Rosé, the meet-me-in-the-middle of wines. This bright wine is not named after a grape like most wines. Instead, it is a category of wine such as reds or whites. Rosé is marvelously refreshing and contains fresh and fruity notes. Pair it with all types of food! From spicy food to sushi and salads, to BBQ meats and chicken! The pairings don't stop there…
Watch our Rosé 101 video for a deeper look.
When the weather gets warmer, reach for chardonnay. Chardonnay is an amazingly refreshing wine that pairs well with seafood, poultry and even pork! Although, try to stay away from aggressively seasoned food when pairing it with a chardonnay.
Watch our Chardonnay 101 video for a deeper look.
This white wine varietal is aromatic as well as highly acidic. Right away, you'll notice the abundance of green fruit aromas. The characteristics of sauvignon blanc make it perfect for pairing with crab cakes, shellfish and lightly seasoned meats like chicken or veal. Mild vinaigrettes, brine sauces and green vegetables will also pair well.
Watch our Sauvignon Blanc 101 video for a deeper look.
Pinot Gris (French) / Pinot Grigio (Italian)
Pinot Gris, or pinot grigio, are two different styles of the same wine. Pinot Gris is from France and tends to be fuller-bodied with hints of spicy tropical fruit. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, is from Italy and will be lighter-bodied. There are a lot of similar characteristics between these wines, but each has its own distinctions.
Watch our Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio 101 video for a deeper look.
Champagne & Sparkling Wine
Immediately, everyone knows what champagne and sparkling wine pairs with—celebrations! But in a more formal sense, this varietal can be paired with an array of different things such as steak, chicken, fried chicken, citrus, potatoes, lobster and even salty snacks and any fruit-styled dessert!
Watch our Champagne & Sparkling Wine 101 video for a deeper look.
The RNDC team sincerely hopes this has been beneficial to your wine-knowledge edification. Leverage this information and incorporate what you've learned into your business. View our list of wines great for grilling season on our "Grilling Wines" Explore Tile on eRNDC.com.
Cheers & Wine Responsibly!