Food and Wine Paring Tool

Suggested Wine Pairings for over 100 foods.

Food & Wine Pairing Recommendations for Hundreds of Dishes

Chablis and Meursault: Foods to Pair and Meals that Call for Chablis and Meursault

The region of Burgundy—is there any other winegrowing area as complicated and difficult to understand? Besides the fact that the overwhelming majority of the white wine here is Chardonnay and the red is almost entirely Pinot Noir, trying to get a grasp on villages, producers and labels can be exasperating. At the same time, wine from Burgundy is some of the most pleasurable and rewarding wine out there. When I think of white Burgundy, two distinct styles come to mind: Chablis and Meursault. Although these wines are each made from Chardonnay, the neutral quality of the grape allows it to express terroir and the soil on which its vines were grown, unlike many other varietals.

Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley: Foods to Pair With, and Meals that Call for, Willamette Valley Pinot

Great Pinot Noir—the Holy Grail of winemakers from France to Australia and the US, and one of the most notoriously difficult grapes to grow. The thin-skinned varietal is susceptible to rot, viruses and diseases and needs a perfectly cool climate and exacting vineyard management to thrive. After the grapes are harvested the winemaker has plenty of decisions to make, including whether or not to fine and filter the wine, how much tannin the final product should have and choosing a precise regimen of oak aging, since Pinot’s delicate flavors can easily be masked by the flavors of wood. It’s easy to make a disappointing, thin-tasting wine from this grape, but really fine Pinot is the stuff of the gods and the combination of ripe fruit and spice flavors, low tannin and high acid make Pinot Noir one of the most food friendly wines in the world.

Dry Creek Zinfandel: Foods to Pair with, and Meals that Call for, Dry Creek Zinfandel

Zinfandel—the grape Americans call their own. The story of Zinfandel mirrors the multicultural heritage of our country and the struggle of immigrants to make it in a new land. From white to red and sweet to dry, this is a grape that has been reinvented to suit the changing tastes of wine consumers across the country. Originally from Croatia, the grape showed up in the US with Italian immigrants in the 1800s (who called it, as it is still known today in Italy, Primitivo). More than a century later it was nearly extinct with vines ripped up in favor of international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. But the huge popularity of white Zin in the 1980s and 1990s saved the grape from obscurity and nowadays the finest expression of Zinfandel comes not from Croatia or Italy but from California where it is produced as a dry red wine that can be light bodied and chockfull of ripe fruit or rich and inky with high alcohol and port-like characteristics.

Napa Valley Chardonnay: Foods to Pair With, and Meals that Call for, Napa Chardonnay

Chardonnay—a chameleon of a grape. There are an especially large number of choices to be made in terms of winemaking when it comes to Chardonnay. It can be still or sparkling. It can be aged in oak or un-oaked, filtered or unfiltered, subject to malolactic fermentation or not. Even the type of oak used, or the decision to keep the wine in contact with dead yeast cells during the winemaking process affects the style of the final product. These factors (not to mention the concept of terroir) result in endless Chardonnay styles that can range from Burgundy’s crisp, austere, mineral-driven wines to Australia’s tropical fruit-packed, viscous style.

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Foods to Pair and Meals That Call for Napa Cabernet

Napa Valley Cabernet—the wine that proved to the world it was possible to make world-class wine someplace other than France. When Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon beat famous French Bordeaux such as Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Haut-Brion, among others, in a blind tasting conducted by French wine experts at the now famous 1976 Paris Tasting, the world took notice. Now Napa Valley Cabernets are served everywhere, and producers like Heitz Cellars and Ridge Vineyards are familiar names on restaurant wine lists.

Valentines Day Food & Wine Pairings to Impress Your Date

Knowing how to cook pays off well throughout the year, but biggest win may come on Valentines day. First you get to avoid, expensive, overcrowded restaurants that frankly “dumb down” the food for the night, and second (and perhaps more important) you get the chance “to be excellent” in front of women. Of course the recipes and wines below can just as easily and expertly be prepared by the female cooks out there, but let’s face, it’s the guys that really need to step up on Valentines day. These are a few of my favorites as the food and wines are great, they are easy to prepare, and they are sure to impress. Hope you enjoy them!

Best Wine to Pair with Vodka Sauce

Say “vodka sauce” and I instinctively think “sexy”. But truly, the relatively recent classic dish, normally consisting of a tomato-cream sauce with fresh parmesan blanketing thick, penne pasta, warms me like a comfort food. Because vodka’s subtle flavor is drowned out by the other ingredients in a typical vodka sauce, cooks needn’t worry over what wine to pair with the vodka flavor. The necessary match is really between the wine and the tomato-cream found in most recipes. In fact, foodies often question why vodka sauce exists. Was this mid-eighties invention a fad, gimmick, or simply a vehicle for vodka pushers? Surprisingly, the vodka in the sauce serves a chemical role in creating complex flavors. The tomato is what is called alcohol soluble , meaning some of its flavor compounds are released to the palate only in the presence of alcohol. The best tomato sauces contain some kind of alcohol, whether wine or vodka; otherwise, the mixtures would be missing an appealing component. Vodka is the spirit of choice when wine would impart a more powerful note than desired.

What to Pair with Champagne? Everything!

I know that we’re still several weeks away from New Years Eve, but it’s my favorite holiday of year, where I truly go all out in the kitchen preparing a 5 – 7 course meal along with some close friends and I’m already planning for it. One of those friends, my co-host for the evening, selects and brings wine paired with each course, and over the years our pairings have varied from the most straight-forward to the most eclectic (a wine pairing with a dish based on halloumi cheese?). However, it being New Years Eve, one particular wine is always called for: Champagne (for purposes of this article, let’s call all sparkling wine Champagne). While I’m not actually an ardent lover of Champagnes, and rarely order it out, I do admit to feeling special when I have a glass in hand. It screams out “It’s Celebration Time”, is clearly associated with special events, and gets people as excited as Kramer during Festivus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festivus ).

Best Wine to Pair With Spinach Salad

Although the origin of spinach salad is unclear, Germans who settled in Pennsylvania are credited with bringing a similar concoction to the United States. Food expert and humorist Alton Brown claims the original mixture comprised dandelions, bacon drippings, vinegar and hard-cooked eggs. Because dandelions were not necessarily appreciated in this country, they were later replaced with spinach.

Best Wine to Pair With Macaroni and Cheese

My intent for dinner tonight was admirable by any standard: green tea, salad loaded with nutrients and tomato soup. However, upon sitting down to start this piece, I watched a video of Greg Ng from FreezerBurns.com eating and reviewing Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese. I immediately abandoned my plan and reached for my own stand-by Stouffer’s, then cracked a bottle of chardonnay. I pride myself on discipline, and have abstained from dish after dish even while editing mouth-watering, gourmet pairings described by the expert contributors to this column. Macaroni and cheese done me in.

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