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Classic Wine Pairings

Let's look at some popular food and wine matchups. And find out why they're so good together.

Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon--Huge classic. The proteins and fats in the steak soften and mellow out the tannins in the wine and bring forward the fruit flavors. Yum.

Oysters and Chardonnay (White Burgundy)
--Ditto for mussels and clams. In fact, Chardonnay is a popular match with lots of seafood. It has nice acid, and makes seafood taste fresh; it's like a bright squeeze of lemon!

Tomato-based Pasta Sauce and Sangiovese (Chianti Classico)
--Yes, please! The same goes for pizza. Sangiovese (the main grape in Chianti) doesn't shy away from the acid in the tomatoes. Other Sangiovese-based wines are Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino. Beyond Italy, there are varietal Sangiovese wines being grown successfully in California, Washington state, and other places.

Spicy Asian Food and Riesling--
This works so well because Riesling's touch of sweetness and relatively low alcohol help take the sting off the heat of spicy dishes. A highly alcoholic wine, by contrast, would just make you feel the burn.

Blue Cheese and Sweet Dessert Wines (Sauternes, for example)--It's the contrast here that works so well! The salty cheese against the sweet wine delivers big, big, utterly gigantic flavor.

More Classic Pairings

Grilled food (burgers, bbq) and Zinfandel

Goat Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc
Clams and Mussels and Muscadet

Lobster and Chardonnay
Lamb and Cabernet Sauvignon

Mushrooms and Pinot Noir
Roasted duck and Pinot Noir

Chocolate desserts and Port

The Spot for Food and Drink

See Sips Central, our friendly guide for pairing food with wine, beer, and cocktails.

Feb. 17, 2012 3:36 pm
Personally, I'd prefer a nice Merlot or Malbec with my medium-rare steak. Don't like Cabernet myself. Too dry.
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