Wine pairing can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be! This beginner's guide will walk you through the basics of wine pairing, so you can confidently pair your next glass with whatever you're eating. Even as a senior, you can enjoy learning about wine pairing and how to mix different flavors together.

The Basics of Wine Pairing

There are three basic principles of wine pairing: contrast, compliment, and cut.

Contrast refers to the idea of balancing flavors. For example, if you're eating a dish that is high in fat, you would want to pair it with a wine that has high acidity. The acidity in the wine will help cut through the fat in the dish, resulting in a more well-rounded flavor.

Compliment refers to finding wines that share common flavors with the dish you're eating. For example, if you're eating a dish with heavy herbal notes, you would want to pair it with a wine that has heavy herbal notes as well. The similar flavors will enhance each other, resulting in a more enjoyable experience.

Cut refers to the idea of using wine to temper certain flavors in a dish. For example, if a dish is too spicy, you would want to pair it with a sweet wine. The sweetness of the wine will help offset the spiciness of the dish, resulting in a more balanced flavor.

Now that we've gone over the basics, let's put them into practice!

Wine Pairing for Popular Dishes

There are hundreds of different types of wines out there, which can make finding the right one seem daunting. But don't worry - we've compiled a list of some popular dishes and what type of wines pair well with them.

Pairing Examples


Chardonnay
Grilled Salmon
The buttery flavors in Chardonnay will enhance the grilled salmon without overpowering it.

Pinot Noir
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Pinot Noir is a light-bodied red wine that won't overpower the sauce or meatballs.

Riesling
Chicken Curry
Riesling is a light-bodied white wine with high acidity. The acidity will help cut through the richness of the curry without diminishing the spice levels.

Port
Chocolate Cake
Port is a dessert wine that is typically very sweet. The sweetness will complement the chocolate cake without making it too rich.

We hope this beginner's guide has given you some confidence when it comes to wine pairing! Remember - contrast, compliment, and cut are your three main principles. And when all else fails, there's always Port (for dessert). Cheers!