Knowing which wines to pair with which foods can be overwhelming and intimidating. While there are no hard and fast wine pairing rules, the following tips can help you find the perfect wines to serve at your next dinner party or event!

White vs. Red

The old rule of thumb to match wine color to the color of your meat still stands true. Pair white wines with lighter foods like chicken, fish and seafood, as well as light meals like salads. Red wines pair wonderfully with heavier, heartier meals like steaks, pasta with red sauces, hamburgers, and stews.

Balance Flavors

The food you are pairing with your wine can influence how it tastes. Sour or salty foods can make strong wines taste more mild and less acidic. Sweet wines have the opposite effect and make foods taste stronger and more acidic. The intensity of the food and wine should also balance each other out-try not to have one overpower the other. A very strong wine will not compliment a light meal as well as something more similar in intensity. For light meals like white fish and chicken try a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. Stronger flavors like salmon or pork would be well-matched with a heavier wine like Chardonnay.

Matching Flavors

Many wine labels list the various flavor undertones of the wine. It’s helpful to match the undertones of the wine you are drinking with the food you are serving. For instance a white wine with apple flavors would be a perfect pair for a salad with apples. A rich plum sauce would blend well with a Merlot with similar undertones.

Wine pairing does not have to be overly complicated. The goal is to find something you enjoy rather than the “right” wine. Keep in mind that the more you taste and try wines the easier it will be to define your taste preferences and the easier it will be to choose wines.

What is your favorite wine to serve to guests?