Continuing our series on all things wine.

Matching food and wine is not rocket science – you don’t have to learn complicated systems for choosing the right bottle to enhance what you’re eating. A few simple guidelines will help you create winning wine-and-food pairings.

Play safe with tried and tested tips

  1. The wine should be more acidic than the food
  2. The wine should be sweeter than the food
  3. Red pairs best with bold flavoured meats, such as red meat
  4. White pairs best with light-intensity meats, such as fish or chicken
  5. It is better to match the wine with the sauce than with the meat

Drink and eat what you like

Choose a wine that you would want to drink by itself. That way, even if the pairing isn’t perfect, you will still enjoy what you’re drinking.

The same holds true for the food. If you detest liver, there is no wine pairing in this world that will make it work for you.

Do the balancing act

Consider the weight – or body, or richness – of both the wine and the food. The wine and the dish should be equal partners, with neither overwhelming the other.

If you balance the two by weight, chances are the pairing will succeed. This is the secret behind many classic wine-and-food matches.

It makes sense that hearty food needs a hearty wine. Cabernet Sauvignon complements grilled lamb chops because they are equally vigorous.

On the other hand, a light wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris washes down a subtly flavoured poached fish because they are equally delicate.

But how do you determine weight?

For food, fat – including what comes from the cooking method and the sauce—is the main contributor.

For wine, less than 12% alcohol tend to be lighter-bodied while more than 14% alcohol is heavier.

Related Articles

No-brainer wine-and-food pairing menu

Wine and food pairings that work every time

Guide to classic wine and food pairings

Drinking wine – not bottoms up, but the bottom line

Drinking wine – lesser known health benefits and potential downsides

Another 5 health benefits of wine

Health benefits of red wine, according to Science

Red wine: Good for your heart?

Wine tips, tricks & trivia

Essential wine facts

Beyond red and white

Believe it! Understanding wine makes it taste better

Another 5 white wines: lesser-known but no less exquisite

More white wines

Pure white – top 5

Winning wines of 2020

Wine lovers’ quest for a perfect red

Wine for beginners

Wine labelling

Red Hot!

More to Wine Than Red or White