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Wine & Food Pairing Guide

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Macadoodles Wine & Food Guide

BEEF – A big, flavorful, hearty piece of beef needs a big wine to keep up with it. Tannins from the wine help balance out the fat in luxurious meat – making brawny reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Shiraz a perfect choice for roast beef or steaks. A Zin or Shiraz is especially appropriate when the dish has some spice to it, such as a pepper steak, and a Bordeaux with tenderloin is perfection.

For hamburgers or everday fare, a Zinfandel, Beaujolais or Cotes du Rhone works well.

POULTRY – Simple roast chicken would go very well with a Chardonnay, while fried chicken responds best to the counterpoint of a lean Sauvignon Blanc or a light, simple Vinho Verde. Grilled chicken on a hot summer night is a great match for Pinot Grigio.

Turkey can bridge the gap, working with both red or white: a Chardonnay adds complexity, but a good Pinot Noir makes a great match as well.

FISH – For a fish that is naturally light in flavor, like Haddock or Sole, a nice light wine like a Sauvignon Blanc works well – this is especially true if a lemon sauce is served as part of the dish. The acids in the lemon will rub a Chardonnay the wrong way, but will help a Sauvignon Blanc mate with the flavors.

For fish like Tuna that has a lot of flavor or is in a rich, buttery sauce, then a full-flavored Chardonnay would be your best bet.

Salmon is sort of in a category of its own – it is richer, fattier and has a more distinct flavor. If you’re open to a red, a Pinot Noir is a great accompaniment to Salmon. If you want to stick to a white, a Pinot Gris will also work quite well.

SHELLFISH – Crab is dry Riesling territory. Scallops and lobster work well with a rich wine like Chardonnay. A Brut Champagne will work nicely with lobster as well.

The wine choice for shrimp depends on it’s preparation: if prepared in a light, lemon butter, then a light acidic wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio works well. If prepared in a heavier sauce, then a Riesling or Gewurztraminer will have the flavor to keep up, as well as a Chardonnay.

If your having shrimp with a spicy cocktail sauce, then consider a Riesling or Gewurztraminer.

PORK & HAM – Pork chops work quite well with a Merlot, while a pork tenderloin does beautifully with a Zinfandel. A mustard sauce with your pork cries out for a Rioja.

A baked ham pairs well with a Pinot Noir (and works well with ham sandwiches and mustard), but if you like that sweet pineapple on your ham, then a Sauvignon Blanc is a good choice.

PASTA – Pasta and other grain-based foods are often a blank canvas, so most of the time, you’ll match the wine to the assertive flavor of the meat of sauce.

Lasagna’s complex flavors responds well to hearty wines like BaroloRiserva ChiantiMontelpulciano or other Italian red wines.

Cream based pasta dishes need a wine that can cut thru the richness. A Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or a light, Italian White works well.

Tomato based sauces need an acidic wine such as ChiantiSangiovese or a Zinfandel.

BBQ – Zinfandel is fun with this American classic fare. Australian Shiraz – it’s big, fresh fruit – is great with BBQ ribs, and a Malbec with grilled chicken BBQ is very tasty.

For a spicy BBQ pulled pork sandwich, an off-dry Riesling would work well too, or to stay with a red, a Syrah would work too.

ASIAN & SPICY – Riesling or  Gewurztraminer with spicy, multiaromatic Asian fare works well, but if you want some fun, try a sparkling wine, like a Prosecco with your spicy food.

PIZZA – Pizza’s tomato sauce and cheese love ChiantiCab or Zinfandel. Pinot Noir pairs wonderfully with the earthy flavor of mushrooms on your pizza

DESSERT – A Port or Moscato make a perfectly sweet ending to a meal by themselves, but if you want a wine to match your chocolate cake, a Cabernet Sauvignon works well or that apple pie is magic with a Riesling.