Wine Palate easy guide to pairing food and wine

Matching food and wine

When food and wine are paired well, they bring out the best in each other, enhancing and complementing the aromas and flavours. If you get it wrong however, flavours can be masked or overwhelmed.


The general concepts

Many wines are ideal for drinking on their own as an aperitif, and some wines like Riesling and perhaps the less well known Gewurztraminer come to life when paired with food.

Light flavour foods can be overwhelmed by a strong wine, and full flavoured dishes can overwhelm lighter wines.

There are also a few pairings that result in unpleasant tastes. For example pairing white poultry with a Cabernet Sauvignon can give you a metallic taste – probably not the best experience you will have! Whereas, match the Cabernet Sauvignon to a spicy or full flavoured red meat dish and you have a winner.

Similarly a Sauvignon Blanc will be overwhelmed by a spice dish but is wonderful with seafoods and salads.

Winemakers often give interesting recommendations on which foods match their vintages perfectly – especially helpful where the wine is a blend of grapes. At Wine Palate you can find this information on each wine page under the How To Enjoy This Wine section.

Let's look at which foods and wines go well together.


Popular White Wines


Fruits – apple, guava, mango, pear, papaya
Vegetables – avocado, mushroom, potato, spinach, white cabbage
Dishes to try – light and creamy pasta or Thai dishes

Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris

Vegetables – grilled or meditteranean vegetables
Dishes to try – salad, seafood, pastas and rice

Chenin Blanc

Vegetables – green beans and mushrooms
Dishes to try - curry, sushi, oysters, tempura

Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion

Fruits – lemon, lime, tomato
Vegetables – asparagus, broccoli, celery, cucumber, sprouts, corn, mushrooms, red and green peppers, green beans, radish and spinach
Dishes to try – light and creamy pastas, rice, salads and seafood


Fruits – apple, banana, grape, mango, melon and pineapple
Vegetables – potato
Dishes to try - sushi, Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes


Fruits – apple, fig, guava, grape, lemon, lime, orange, papaya and pear
Vegetables – asparagus, artichoke, red cabbage, corn, carrot, mushrooms and pumpkin
Dishes to try – Asian dishes, poultry and seafood
white wine

Popular Red Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon

Vegetables – broccoli, carrot, red cabbage and mushrooms
Dishes to try – tomato or meat pasta, steaks, casseroles, stews and game 

Cabernet Franc

Vegetables – broccoli, carrot, red cabbage and mushrooms
Dishes to try - poultry, lasagne, Middle Eastern and Greek dishes


Dishes to try - steaks, casseroles and game


Vegetables – mushroom, butternut squash, red pepper and mediterranean vegetables
Dishes to try - roast chicken,  tomato based pasta and pizza, tapas, steaks and casseroles

Pinot Noir

Vegetables – carrot and mushroom  
Dishes to try - creamy pasta, rice, lentil based dishes and game


Vegetables - mushroom and spinach
Dishes to try - tomato or meat based pasta, casseroles, barbecued red meat, barley and lentil based dishes

Rioja / Tempranillo / Crianza

Vegetables – red and green peppers
Dishes to try - tapas, paella, grilled chicken, meat platters, chorizo, mediterranean vegetable dishes, tomato or meat based pasta, red meat and casseroles, barbecued meat and game


Dishes to try – tomato or pesto pasta, Mexican and Thai dishes, red meats, barbecued meat, game,  barley, lentil, red bean and chilli bean based dishes
red wine

Rose' Wines With food

Fruits - strawberry, raspberry, tomato


Vegetables – avocado, red and green peppers

Dishes to try – chicken, fish, Chinese (Sweet and Sour), lightly spiced Mexican and Indian dishes

Sparkling Wines & Champagne With Food

Sparkling wines are best for welcoming guests, and as an aperitif - however they do pair well with Creamy Pastas, Salads, Seafoods and Sushi.

Dishes & Regions


Barbecued Meats --- Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, Rioja
Cheese board --- Merlot, Grenache, Chianti, Beaujolais, Rioja (Tempranillo/Crianza), Cabernet Sauvignon,Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel, Dessert wines
Chicken/Poultry --- Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Pinot Gris/Blanc, Viognier,  Rioja (Tempranillo/Crianza), Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Rose' Wines
Creamy Pastas --- Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sparkling Wine and Champagne, Pinot Noir
Game --- Malbec, Syrah/Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Zinfandel, Rioja, Gewurztraminer
Lamb --- Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel
Pizza --- Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Rioja
Rice --- Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Salad --- Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling, Pinot Gris, Rose Wines
Shellfish/Seafood --- Pinot Gris, Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling, Rose wines
Steak,Casseroles, Red Meat --- Rioja (Tempranillo/Crianza), Syrah/Shiraz, Merlot, Chianti, Cabernet Franc, Malbec
Tomato Pastas --- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel, Rioja

Vegetables, Beans & Grains

Asparagus --- Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier
Avocado --- Chardonnay, Rose Wine
Barley --- Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel
Broccoli --- Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc
Beans - (chilli or red) --- Zinfandel
Cabbage - white --- Chardonnay
Cabbage - red --- Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Zinfandel
Carrot --- Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Viognier
Corn --- Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier
Green beans --- Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc
Lentils --- Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz
Mushrooms --- Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Cabarnet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah/Shiraz
Peppers –red/green --- Sauvignon Blanc, Rioja
Potato --- Chardonnay
Pumpkin --- Pinot Noir, Viognier
Radish --- Sauvignon Blanc
Spinach --- Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah/Shiraz
Sprouts --- Sauvignon Blanc


Apple --- Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier
Banana --- Muscat, Riesling
Cherry --- Merlot, Pinot Noir
Currant/raisin --- Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
Fig --- Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Chianti, Viognier
Guava --- Chardonnay, Viognier
Grapes --- Riesling, Viognier
Lemon/lime --- Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier
Mango --- Chardonnay, Riesling
Melon --- Muscat, Riesling


Mexican and Indian dishes --- Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinotage, Grenache, Zinfandel
Thai dishes --- Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Riesling, Zinfandel
Chinese and Oriental dishes --- Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Riesling, Viognier, Rose' Wines
Sushi and Japanese dishes--- Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Sparkling, Rose Wines
Meditteranean/Tapas --- Syrah/Shiraz, Rioja, Pinot Gris/Blanc, Merlot, Cabarnet Franc, Rose' Wines
plate and wine glasses
white wine