Food and Wine Pairings Made Easy

Food and Wine Pairings Made Easy

Organising tastings in your own home with close friends is a fun and hands-on way to learn about wine. Regardless of your wine expertise, you’ll be delighted and entertained if you attend a wine tasting. Hosting one? Wine Divine’s online liquor store provides wine delivery in Auckland,

While many foodies like wine pairing, it can be daunting to new wine lovers. Wine and food go hand in hand. Winemakers started promoting wine and food combinations to help market and sell their wines. But food and wine combinations should complement, not dominate. Even though there are no definitive rules for food and wine matching, there are some easy principles to follow. What makes a great wine match? 

The Basics of Wine Pairing

Your meal’s acidity has a significant impact on the types of wine that will interact well with it. A balanced food and wine pairing  cannot be outmatched. An acidic wine is a good match for sharp, sour dishes like those with citrus or tomato sauces. Note that the acidity on the palate remains, thus it can overstimulate the tannins in the wine and influence how sweet the wines taste.

On the flip side, wines with a high tannin content, such as cabernet sauvignon, release additional proteins in your saliva, leading to a flavour that is both bitter and astringent. Wines of this type can overwhelm low-fat meals and impart a metallic flavour to fatty fish dishes.


Wine Tasting 

To create a complementary pairing, it is important to analyse the elements of wine, which may include sugar, acid, fruit, tannins, alcohol concentration, as well as the components and characteristics of the cuisine including fat, acid, salt, sweet, bitter, and texture. Generally, delicate cuisine goes well with delicate wines, whereas rich foods and heavy wines are best paired with more robust, full-bodied wines. This way, both the wine and the pairing are balanced and neither one overwhelms the other.

For anything in between, consider gradations. Balance the weight of food and wine. There’s a general assumption that white wine pairs best with light dishes while red wine compliments heavy dishes, but that’s not always the case. Wine pairing is more than just a colour matching game, you have to consider other attributes that contribute to how the individual wine compliments your dish. 

For example, if your cuisine is substantial, but not overly rich, try pairing it with an appropriate dry white wine such as a Chardonnay. 

As a general guide, here are 6 basic rules for wine pairings: 

  1. Acidic wines work best with acidic foods
  2. For a snack platter, or meals with a variety of flavours, a dry rose is a great compliment.
  3. Balance out high fat dishes with a high tannin wine.
  4. A light, sweet wine best compliments dishes with heat and spice. 
  5. Salty or fried foods should be served with bubbles
  6. Earthy foods like mushrooms, beans, or gamey match well with earthier wines. 

Wine Pairings to Compliment Salty Dishes 

Each sip of wine has a distinct flavour depending on what you put in your mouth. When you eat something salty and savoury, your taste receptors' ability to detect acidity is impaired. When eating salty cuisine, pair it with Champagne or a Dry Rosé for the most delectable experience.

Wine and Cheese Pairing for Dessert

Due to the strong correlation between sweetness and acidity, dry wines seem harsh and bitter when paired with sweet foods. As a result, sparkling wine is always preferable with dessert.

When choosing a wine to pair with dessert, eliminate any alternatives that are darker or lighter than your sweet dish. Tannin-rich red wines, especially if they are from the Old World, pair well with high fat foods like cheese, but aren’t the best match for sweet pastries. If you're serving strawberry soufflé, a lighter Brut or Chenin blanc wine may better complement the dessert.


Once you've mastered the fundamentals of food and wine pairing, you'll quickly be able to confidently select wines that complement meals and flavours. Wine pairing should never be used to persuade or overpower a dish.. Each individual dish has a distinct flavour, and hence each wine pairing is also unique.

You'll notice how certain wines enhance your meal while others overshadow it with monolithic flavours, excessive alcohol, or young oak. Unbelievably, a wine that grabbed you during the tasting may be far less appetising when matched with your main dish.  

We are grateful for wines from all over the world that are readily available to us nowadays. Never be afraid to explore and break the rules if it means learning more about yourself. Combine and contrast several types of food and wine to develop your own palate. To a large extent, if you appreciate the way it tastes, it's the ideal complement.

If you’re keen to explore your own food and wine pairings, Wine Divine has a great selection of wines and provides alcohol home delivery New Zealand wide. 

Back to blog