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Bonjour! (said in my best Julia Child accent)

Welcome to my immaculate kitchen where fat baby angels sing holding onto artisan copper pots suspended mid-air from massive wrought iron hooks hand forged by strong men by strong Scottish men in kilts.

The marble countertop provides a cool surface for my cheek to rest on when I pass out while watching YouTube videos at midnight.

I think I’ve taken my Jamie Fraser Outlander obsession a wee bit too far.

…Anyways, I’m still fantasizing about my ultimate kitchen with my custom stove from Paris.

But until then I’m going to give you a simple two-step process to perfectly pair food and wine every time.

These are more of if-then statements:

1) Match wine to sauce not meat.

Let’s say you’re serving fish or seafood in a delectable creamy or rich sauce. You want a complementary pairing of a wine that’s going to match that silky mouthfeel. Rich whites like Pinot Gris, Chardonnay or Viognier aged in oak pair well with these flavors. The honeysuckle, butter, mango, and pineapple flavors pair nicely with the fatty sauces.

Marinara sauce – in this instance since the sauce is quintessentially Italian we would pair it with an Italian wine. (This is another good rule of thumb. Pair your wine to the region or country the recipe originates from.)

We’ll pair it with a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Chianti or Sangiovese, the tart cherry, coffee, and plum flavors work well with the acid in the tomato-based sauce.

Barbeque – Primitivo or Zinfandel with its profile of cigar smoke, blackberries, plum jam, and cinnamon is an excellent companion to grilled meats.

2) Bitter goes with fat.

Tannat a rich tannic red wine hailing from France or Uruguay that makes your mouth pucker. It’s spicy, full of espresso, smoke, dark chocolate, plum, and nutmeg flavors. It pairs perfectly with beef sausage, Beef Bourguignon, duck confit, roasted lamb, cassoulet, or blue cheeses.

3) White for light dishes.

If you’re in the mood for gluten-free pasta (joking) pasta loaded with veggies, a cool crisp Caesar salad, white meat fish, white fish cakes, tuna, or roasted vegetables try a dry Rosé, Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, dry Riesling, Chablis, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, unoaked Chardonnay, or Gewürztraminer.

4) Chicken loves red or white.

Dry Riesling, Sancerre, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Vouvray, White Burgundy, Oaked Chardonnay, Côtes-du-Rhône, or Pinot Noir. The thing about chicken is even though it’s basic. It can be fabulous.

You can roast it up, make a rich gravy, and serve it with mashed potatoes, and loads of onions and carrots and pair it with a Côtes-du-Rhône. Or serve it on the lighter side by roasting it in its juices and pair with one of the whites above or Pinot Noir.

5) Red for bold dishes,

this is a no-brainer. Go for juicy Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet-Merlot-Syrah blends or Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”) blends which are the American equivalent of Bordeaux blends because it must contain at least three of the Noble grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

6) Salty = Champagne, Cava, or Prosecco.

The bubbles are super refreshing when served with salty foods like udon noodles, or sushi rolls. Want to mix it up? Try an icy cold Fino Sherry!

7) Spicy foods need sweeter wines.

You’re going to want an off-dry Riesling, Pinot Gris, Moscato D’Asti, a fruity rosé, or dry Muscat to give you a refreshing break from all that spice and heat.

8) Serve wines higher in acid than the food.

Tastefully tart foods are a delight with wine that’s bright, fresh, and makes your mouth water like a juicy lemon. Try Sauvignon Blanc, Portuguese Vinho Verde, Spanish Albariño, Greek white whites that contain blends of Moschofilero and Rodititis, or Torrontes.

9) Serve wines sweeter than the food.

If you’re having dessert pair with the fruit or main flavor in your dessert. For example, if you’re having a plain cheesecake (creamy vanilla flavor profile) a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc or Canadian ice wine are solid picks.

For a berry-based dessert, I’d pick a port or a sweet red wine. For caramel, I’d go with a Sauterne, Tawny port, or cream sherry. For chocolate, I’d run with a Pedro Ximenez sherry or Late-Bottled Vintage port.

10) Pair funky, earthy wines with earthy umami flavors.

Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Dolcetto. Recipes made with umami-rich ingredients like truffles or mushrooms deserve wines with earthy savory depth. The flavors of these lighter red wines are bright, funky, spiked with cocoa, violets, and black pepper and pair perfectly with earthy ingredients.

Bookmark this post for later. Cause why remember something when you can look it up on your phone? I got you, babe.

Reply to me and let me know if these are uber helpful for you.

About the Author Alexandra Andersen

I founded Wine & Drama to make you laugh and help you learn all about wine, food, and living well. I love stinky cheese, my Nespresso machine, Loire Valley white wines, bold full-bodied reds, and championing ladies in winemaking.

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