Wine and Food Pairing Chart

two glasses of wine


Wine and Food Pairing does not need to be rocket science. The right wine can make a dish "sing" while another selection may seem just "so-so". Worst case the wine can clash or overpower. You need to experiment with wines to find what works best for you. Consider this chart a starting point but be brave and feel free to "break the rules" and you may encounter matches that are "off the charts". Where appropriate we offer suggestions for both red and white wines.
Food Predominant Flavor Attributes Avoid Wine
Achiote earthy Chianti Classico
Ancho Chile dried fruit Tempranillo, Northern Rhone Syrah Shiraz
Artichokes Pinot Grigio, Sancerre
Asian Food Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sparkling Wine
Asparagus Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio
Barbecue Zinfandel, Shiraz
Beef Zinfandel, Cabernet, Pinot Noir
Cascabel Chile Spicy, nutty, earthy Pinot Noir
Caviar Gewürztraminer, Champagne
Cheese See Cheese and Wine Pairing Page
Chicken Chardonnay, Merlot, Burgandy
Chicken enchiladas with red sauce Sweet, tomato Zinfandel
Chinese Salty, garlic, strong flavors Very acetic wines Gewürztraminer,, Riesling, Cabernet, Merlot
Chipotle Chile Sweet, hot, smoky Argentine Malbec , Spanish Tempranillo
Chocolate Dessert wine, Banyuls
Cream Soups Chardonnay
Duck Pinot Noir, Bordeaux, Cabernet Savignon
Egg dishes Rose, Champagne
Epazote Piney, pungent Argentine Torrontes New Zealand Pinot Noir
Escabeche Vinegar, sweet, spicy, herbal New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Fish dishes, rich Champagne, Merlot, Pinot Noir
Foie Gras Barolo, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir
Game Pinot Noir, Barolo, Barbaresco
Goose Cabernet, Rioja, Sauvignon Blanc
Guajillo Chile Spicy, medium to high heat Syrah
Habanero Chile Hot, tropical Chardonnay or Viognier
Ham Asti Spumanti
Hoja Santa sweet anise Riesling or Vouvray (Chenin Blanc)
Indian Highly spiced, curry, cumin coconut Heavy oak flavors Merlot, Zinfandel or Syrah.
Japanese Sancere or Brut Champagne
Lamb Riesling
Lime Citrus, tart Oregon Pinot Gris or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for a crisp, fruity balance.
Mexican Food White Zinfandel
Mushrooms Burgandy, Barolo
Pasilla Chile Spicy, chocolate, coffee Zinfandel (rich spicy-fruit), Chilean Cabernet blends (dark fruit, soft tannins).
Pasta Chianti, Pinot Grigio, Chardonny
Poblano Chile Earthy, medium spice Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Moscatel or dry Riesling (focus on citrus flavors)
Popcorn Chardonnay, Sparkling wine
Pork Chardonnay, Chianti, Merlot
Roast Beef Cabernet, Chenin Blanc
Sausages, spicy Chardonnay
Salads Sauvignon Blanc
Sausages, boudin or bratwurst Pinot Gris, Rhrone
Serrano or Jalapeño Chile Spicy Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc (grassy freshness) or Oregon Pinot Gris (fruity)
Shellfish Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Smoked Salmon Riesling, Champagne
Soy sauce Salty
Sushi Chardonnay, Riesling,
Teriyaki Sweet / soy
Tomatillos Tart, citrus Côtes du Rhône, lighter California Syrah, (soft, youthful fruit) or Alsatian Riesling (fruity with good minerality).
Tomatoes Sweet (more complex if roasted) Sangiovese or Barbera
Turkey Dry Riesling, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer
Veal Chardonnay, Chianti, Bordeaux, White Burgandy
Vegetable Side Dishes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

Important Pairing Tips

  1. Know the cooking method (poached, braised, broiled, grilled)
  2. Identify the key flavors or sauces
  3. Don't overlook your favorite wines, no matter what the "rules" state

More Pairing Guides


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.