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Food and Wine Pairings

(Click here to alternately see pairing wines to foods.)

Note: The principal aim in pairings is to match wine and food that share the same intensity. When in doubt, drink Champagne, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir for their versatility and because they offer a harmonic balance of fruit and acid that make them work well with most foods. As with all pairings, our offerings are by necessity general. Cooking styles, sauces, and the like can easily alter the varietal of wine with any particular dish.

Appetizer / Brunch / Courses

Antipasti Pinot Grigio
Artichokes Vegetable to avoid (or eat separately) when pairing with wine. Makes wine taste acidic.
Asparagus Vegetable to avoid (or eat separately) when pairing with wine. Gives wine a sour note.
Canapés Champagne/rosé Champagne/rosé sparkling wine
Caviar Champagne/sparkling wine
Crab Salad Chardonnay or Riesling
Cucumber Salad Sauvignon Blanc
Egg Dishes Champagne
Eggplant — Grilled and Tomato Salad Merlot or Pinot Noir
Fava Beans (or Cannelli Bean course) Chardonnay or Riesling
Figs with Prosciutto Champagne or sparkling wine
Fish Pâté Sancerre or any white Burgundy
Foie Gras Champagne/sparkling wine or Gewürztraminer, Sauternes
Fruit course Riesling
Greek Salad Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, or Albarino (Spanish white)
(but beware: oil and vinegar can discourage the flavor of wine)
Mushrooms (Fresh)        Champagne/sparkling wine
Nuts Chilled Sherry
Olives Chilled Sherry
Omelettes Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Champagne
Oysters Champagne, Chablis, and Pinot Gris
Pâté Champagne/sparkling wine, Sauternes, Gewürztraminer
Prawns Riesling
Prosciutto Chardonnay
Quiche Gewürztraminer, Riesling
Ragout Chardonnay
Ratatouille and herbs Zinfandel or Syrah
Salads None. Beware of trying to pair with wine: vinegar and dressings do little for salads.
Salmon — Smoked Champagne/sparkling wine, Riesling
Shellfish Champagne/sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc, White Burgundy/Chardonnay, Albarino (Spanish white wine)
Snails Champagne/sparkling wines
Soups None. Wine does nothing for soup.
Sushi Champagne/sparkling wine
Tapas Champagne/sparkling wine or chilled Manzanilla Sherry

Entrées and Cuisines

Cooking Suggestion: Try to cook with the wine you're drinking with dinner. Don't chintz on the wine, and avoid using plonk, which will distort your culinary efforts.
Asian Champagne/sparkling wine, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, Riesling
Beef Dishes Cabernet Sauvignon/red Bordeaux, Rhône, Syrah, Zinfandel
Beef Stew Red Burgundy/Pinot Noir/Red Rioja, Barolo
Beef — Wagyu Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel
Chicken — Fried Barbera, Syrah, Zinfandel
Chicken — Grilled Chablis, Champagne, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Chicken — Roasted Pinot Noir/red Burgundy, Viognier
Chicken Stew Champagne/sparkling wine, or Pinot Noir/Burgundy with some crusty French bread
Chilean Malbec
Coq au Vin Red Burgundy/Pinot Noir/Red Rioja
Crab Champagne/sparkling wine/Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Gris
Dover Sole Chablis or any white Burgundy
Duck Pinot Noir, Red Rhône, Red Rioja, Zinfandel
Duck — Peking or Szechuan Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir
Fish Stews Champagne/sparkling wine
Fish — Grilled Champagne/sparkling wine, Chablis, Chardonnay
Fish — White Chardonnay, Chablis
Fondue Champagne or sparkling wine
Halibut White Burgundy/Chardonnay or Pinot Noir
Ham Viognier, Gewürztraminer
Hamburgers Merlot
Indian Chenin Blanc, Fume or Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino (Spanish white)
(If hot, avoid wine and drink beer or water;
If medium, Chardonnay or sparkling wine)
Kangaroo Grenache, Syrah
Lamb — Braised Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah
Lamb — Rack of lamb Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
Lamb — Roasted Cabernet Sauvignon/red Bordeaux, Merlot, Syrah
Lamb Chop Cabernet Sauvignon/red Bordeaux, Pinot Noir
Lamb Stew Merlot, St. Emilion, or Pomerol
Lobster Chardonnay or any white Burgundy, Champagne
Lobster — Poached Champagne or Pinot Noir
Macaroni with blue cheese Sauternes or Late Harvest Sauvignon
Meatballs and Pasta Merlot
Meatloaf Cabernet Sauvignon/red Bordeaux
Mexican Chenin Blanc, Fumé or Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino (Spanish white)
(If hot, avoid wine and drink beer or water;
If medium, Chardonnay or sparkling wine)
Monkfish Riesling, Pinot Noir
Omelette Champagne, Beaujolais or any light red Burgundy/Pinot Noir
Osso Buco Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo, Zinfandel
Pasta with cheese Chianti Classico
Pasta in cream Chardonnay
Pasta with meat sauce or meatballs Chianti Classico, Merlot, Amarone, Barolo
Pasta with pesto Fumé Blanc/sauvignon blanc
Pasta with salmon Champagne/sparkling wine or Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir
Pasta with seafood Champagne /sparkling wine or Pinot Grigio
Pasta with Tomato & Basil Sauvignon Blanc
Pizza with fish and cheese topping White wine, like Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc; otherwise beer, soda or water
Pizza with meat topping Red wine, Zinfandel; otherwise, beer, soda or water
Pork Pinot Noir/red Burgundy, red Rhônes, Syrah, Zinfandel, Riesling, Beaujolais
Pork Chop Riesling
Pot Roast Barolo
Quail and Pheasant Red Burgundy or Syrah
Rabbit Barbaresco and Barolo, Cabernet Sauvignon/red Bordeaux, Red Rhone, Pinot Noir, Merlot
Red Snapper California Red blend/Meritage
Ribs — Short Ribs Cabernet Sauvignon or French Bordeaux
Risotto Pinot Noir/red Burgundy, Amarone
Risotto with truffles Italian reds, like Barbaresco or Barolo
Salmon White Burgundy, Pinot Noir/Red Burgundy, Pinot Gris
Sausage Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
Sausage — Bratwurst Sancerre, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc
Scallops Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Champagne
Sea Bass Chardonnay/Chablis
Shrimp Curry Sauvignon Blanc or Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc
Soufflés Champagne or sparkling wine
Spicy Foods Riesling — this wine loves any pork, especially grilled pork chops
Squab Pinot Noir
Steak au Poivre Red Zinfandel, Rhone, or Syrah
Sweetbreads Cabernet Sauvignon/Bordeaux or Pinot Noir/red Burgundy
Thai Chenin Blanc, Albarino (Spanish white), Riesling, Fumé, Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine, Viognier
Tuna — Ahi Sauvignon Blanc
Tuna — Grilled Pinot Noir/red Burgundy, Rioja
Trout Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Soave, Albarino
Trout — Smoked    Riesling, Gewürztraminer
Truffles Champagne, Barbaresco, Pinot Noir
Tuna Dishes Chablis, Champagne/sparkling wine, or Sauvignon Blanc
Turkey — Roasted Pinot Noir/red Burgundy, red Zinfandel, Shiraz
Veal Pinot Noir/red Burgundy, Chardonnay
Vegetarian Chardonnay or Champagne, Sparkling wine
Venison Syrah/French Red Rhône


Note: Contrary to conventional thought, white wine actually pairs better with most cheeses than red. Cheese coats the palate with fat. Dry red wines are not equipped to penetrate the fat, and as a result are neutralized — perhaps overpowered — by cheese. An exception to this is red Port wine, which is sweet and marries wonderfully with Stilton and other blue cheeses. Dry white wines, on the other hand, have more acidity than dry reds and are better able to cut through the fat and co-exist quite nicely with cheese. Nonetheless, people still like to have cheese with red wine, so we supply suggestions for both.
Cheeses with Red Wine
Blue Cheese
(Roquefort or Stilton)
Brie Burgundy or Pinot Noir
Cheddar, Gouda, or Gruyère Bordeaux/Cabernet Sauvignon; Merlot; Zinfandel
Époisses Burgundy or Pinot Noir; Barolo; Barbaresco; Super Tuscan; Chianti
Époisses or Parmigianino Barolo or Barbaresco
Gouda Chianti Classico; Merlot; Zinfandel
Parmigianino Chianti Classico; Super Tuscan
Triple Crème (Brillat-Savarin or Explorateur) Burgundy/Pinot Noir
Cheese with White Wine
Blue Cheese/Roquefort Sherry (dry)
Brie Champagne, White Burgundy/Chardonnay
Camembert Champagne
Cheddar Riesling
Cheddar, Soft Champagne
Feta White Burgundy/Chardonnay
Fontina Val d’Aosta Burgundy, Pouilly-Fuissé, Chardonnay, Riesling (versatile with both reds and whites)
Goat Cheese Champagne
Gorgonzola Sherry (dry)
Gouda Champagne
Gruyère Burgundy/Chardonnay, Riesling
Gruyère Cheese with mushrooms Chardonnay
Munster Gewürztraminer, Riesling
Triple Crème Champagne, White Burgundy, Sancerre
Cheese Tips

Serve cheese at room temperature and remove it from the refrigerator about 90 minutes or more before serving.

Serve a chewy whole grain bread or crusty French bread with cheese. Hold the crackers because they do little to enhance cheese or wine.

Fruit and Cheese Pairings

Pears crave Parmigianino. A glass of Chablis will marry well. If you insist on a red wine, try Barbaresco or young red Burgundy/Pinot Noir.

Apples and Cheddar are a natural. A glass of Chardonnay is excellent. If you insist on red wine, try a glass of young Burgundy/Pinot Noir.

Fresh Figs crave Brie. Include some prosciutto and a glass of Champagne for a lovely combination.

Grapes are always a sure accompaniment with Cheddar, Brie, Triple Crèmes, or Fontina Val d’Aosta. Add some crusty bread and Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. If you insist on red, then use Cheddar with some Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.


Apple Dumplings Late Harvest Chardonnay or Riesling
Cakes with Jam or Raspberry Late Harvest Riesling or Chardonnay
Dark Chocolate Red wine, like Port, works well; Champagne often also used
Dark Chocolate Truffles Red Blend/Meritage or Cabernet Sauvignon or Port
Figs (fresh) Champagne, preferably Rosé Champagne
Ice Cream and Meringues Champagne/sparkling wine
Lemon Soufflé Champagne
Pear Tart Champagne
Plum Desserts Late Harvest Riesling or Chardonnay
Rich tarts, crepes, pecan pie Sauternes, Late-Harvest Riesling, Madeira
Truffles Champagne, Barbaresco, Pinot Noir

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