Food-wine pairing: dry versions go well with fish, chicken and pork dishes.
Riesling should taste fresh. If they do, then they might also prove tastier and tastier as they
The classic German grape of the Rhine and Mosel, Riesling grows in all wine districts.
Germany's great Rieslings are usually made slightly sweet, with steely acidity for balance.
Riesling from Alsace and the Eastern USA is also excellent, though usually made in a
different style, equally aromatic but typically drier (not sweet). California Rieslings are much
less successful, usually sweet and lacking in acidity for balance.
Typical taste in varietal wine: Riesling wines are much lighter than Chardonnay wines. The
aromas generally include fresh apples. The Riesling variety expresses itself very differently
depending on the district and the winemaking. Rieslings should taste fresh. If they do, then
they might also prove tastier and tastier as they age.
Food-wine pairing: ideal for sipping and with Asian food, pork and grilled
Best-known in Alsace, Germany, the USA West Coast, and New York.
A very aromatic variety.
Typical taste in varietal wine: fruity flavors with aromas of rose petal, peach, lychee, and
allspice. A Gewürztraminer often appears not as refreshing as other kinds of dry whites.
Food-wine pairing: it is a good choice for fish and chicken dishes.
Chardonnay was the most popular white grape through the 1990's. It can be made sparkling
Chardonnay makes the principle white wine of Burgundy (France), where it originated.
Chardonnay is grown with success in most areas under a variety of climatic conditions.
Typical taste in varietal wine: often wider-bodied (and more velvety) than other types of dry
whites, with rich citrus (lemon, grapefruit) flavours. Fermenting in new oak barrels adds a
buttery tone (vanilla, toast, coconut, toffee). Tasting a Californian Chardonnay should give
citrus fruit flavours, hints of melon, vanilla, some toasty character and some creaminess.
Food-wine pairing: a versatile food wine for seafood, poultry, and salads.
New Zealand produces some excellent Sauvignon Blancs. Some Australian Sauvignon
Blancs, grown in warmer areas, tends to be flat and lack fruit qualities. Of French origin,
Sauvignon Blanc is grown in the Bordeaux district where it is blended with semillon. It is
also grown extensively in the upper Loire valley where it is made as a varietal wine.
Typical taste in varietal wine: generally lighter than Chardonnay — Sauvignon Blanc
normally shows a herbal character suggesting bell pepper or freshly mowed grass. The
dominating flavors range from sour green fruits of apple, pear and gooseberry through to
tropical fruits of melon, mango and blackcurrant. Quality unoaked Sauvignon Blancs will
display smokey qualities; they require bright aromas and a strong acid finish; they are best
grown in cool climates.
Food-wine pairing: Muscat shows best on its own: without food.
More a family of grapes than a single variety, muscat bears no relationship with the
Districts: any warmer climates.
Typical taste: often sweet and always fruity, with a characteristic grapefruity and musky
aroma. Muscat wines are instantly recognizable to anyone who has tasted a Muscat table
Food-wine pairing: Very much depends on the freshness/heaviness of the
wine; tomato-sauce pastas, pizza, and grilled and barbecued meats.
Perhaps the world's most versatile wine grape, making everything from blush wine (White
Zinfandel), to rich, heavy reds.
Only found in California.
Typical taste in varietal wine: often a zesty flavor with berry and pepper.
Food-wine pairing: meat (steak, beef, wild game, stews, etc.)
Shiraz or Syrah are two names for the same variety. Europe vine growers and winemakers
only use the name Syrah.
Shiraz excels in France's Rhône Valley, California and Australia.
Typical taste in varietal wine: aromas and flavours of wild black-fruit (such as blackcurrant),
with overtones of black pepper spice and roasting meat. The abundance of fruit sensations
is often complemented by warm alcohol and gripping tannins.
Toffee notes if present come not from the fruit but from the wine having rested in oak
The Shiraz variety gives hearty, spicy reds. While Shiraz is used to produce many average
wines it can produce some of the world's finest, deepest, and darkest reds with intense
flavors and excellent longevity. You'll discover Shiraz of value and elegance .
Food-wine pairing: any will do.
Easy to drink. Its softness has made it an "introducing" wine for new red-wine drinkers.
A key player in the Bordeaux blend, Merlot is now also grown on the US West Coast,
Australia, and other countries.
Typical taste in varietal wine: tannic (rough) but less so than Cabernet Sauvignon. A middle
palate gap is common. Black-cherry and herbal flavors are typical.
Food-wine pairing: best with simply prepared red meat
Widely accepted as one of the world's best varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended
with Cabernet Franc and Merlot it usually undergoes oak treatment.
Cabernet Sauvignon is planted wherever red wine grapes grow except in the Northern
fringes such as Germany. It is part of the great red Médoc wines of France, and among the
finest reds in Australia, California and Chile.
Typical taste in varietal wine: full-bodied, but firm and gripping when young. With age, rich
currant qualities change to that of pencil box. Bell pepper notes remain.
Vanilla notes if present come not from the fruit but from the oak treatment.
Food-wine pairing: excellent with grilled salmon, chicken, and lamb.
One of the noblest red wine grapes — difficult to grow, rarely blended, with no roughness.
Makes the great reds of Burgundy in France, and good wines from Austria, California,
Oregon, and New Zealand.
Typical taste in varietal wine: very unlike . The structure is delicate and fresh. The tannins
are very soft; this is related to the low level of polyphenols. The aromatics are very fruity
(cherry, strawberry, plum), often with notes of tea-leaf, damp earth, or worn leather.
Yet Pinot Noir is very transparent to the place where its is grown. "The staggering range of
wines produced makes it impossible and pointless to define which personality is the best
expression of the variety", as Craig Camp put it.
Food pairings: versatile.
Pinot Grigio is the name of the Pinot Gris variety where grown in Italy.
Pinot Grigio is planted extensively in the Venezia and Alto-Adige regions of Italy. It is called
malvoisie in the Loire Valley. In Germany and Austria Pinot Gris is known as the Ruländer or
Grauer Burgunder where it is used to make pleasant, young, white wines. Similar aliases
are used in the german settled regions of Australia. Pinot Grigio is also grown in the
western coastal regions of the U.S.A.
Typical taste: Pinot Grigio can produce crisp, dry wines with good acid "bite". Pinot Grigio
shows aromatic, fruity flavors that improve with a couple of years in the bottle.
|A Lesson on Pairing Wines with Food
|Matching wine with food
How to combine wines with food? Here below are some basics. If you have a specific varietal
wine and you wonder which food would match, please stop in and ask. One of our staff will be
happy to help you.
The following food damages wine tasting: spice, garlic, vinegar (to be replaced by white
wine), raw fruits.
You should also
Avoid red meat with white wines or sweet wines.
Avoid fish, raw vegetables, and goat cheese, with red wines that dry the palate - but think of
trying a cool Gamay or a fruity Pinot.
Avoid desserts, Foie Gras, and very strong cheeses (Munster, blue cheese), with Cabernet,
pink wine, or crisp white (such as dry Loire, Champagne, or Vinho Verde).
Food-wine pairing explained
Wine rouses pleasure with various food. Almost any dish can be matched with many types of
wines. People have different palates and inclinations: everyone will make their own
For example you can try cheese with a young white wine(any cheese with Chardonnay, light
cheeses with Sauvignon Blanc).
Some rules can guide your matching experiments though:
A simple course leaves room for the wine to shine.
Old wines are delicate to serve and match. The dish should be discreet.
In theory, a slightly sweetened or bitter course accentuates the dryness (acidity, tannins) of a
wine. You should thus avoid hard wines with sweet food.
On the contrary, the more a dish is salty or acidic, the sweeter the wine will taste. This is an
opportunity for you to try wines from fresher climates.