Perfect Pairings

These tried-and-true wine and food combinations were practically made for each other.

Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon

Why they're the perfect pair: Cabernet Sauvignon is high in tannin – the substance that leaves a chalky sensation on your teeth and dyes your mouth dark after drinking. The fat in a steak stands up to tannins and softens their impact, and the meat's bold flavor matches the big, fruity flavor of the wine.

Similar combinations to try: Red meat and red wine are a classic combination. Grilled steak would be delicious with an American red Zinfandel or a tannic or soft Merlot, while a pan-fried steak pairs well with fruitier reds like Australian Shiraz or a California, Oregon or Washington Merlot.

Oysters and Muscadet

Why they're a perfect pair:
Muscadet, which is made in western France and along the Atlantic coast, heightens the oysters' fresh flavor with its acidity.

Similar pairings to try: Mussels, clams, oysters and white fish like trout or skate are also delicious with lightly oaked Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

Spaghetti and Meatballs and Chianti

Why they're a perfect pair:
Chianti has a bold, fruity flavor with enough acidity to stand up to the tomatoes and meat.

Similar pairings to try: Spanish Rioja also pairs well with tomato-based sauces. Parmesan cheese goes well with Chianti.

Spicy Indian Takeout and Riesling

Why they're a perfect pair:
Slightly sweet, low alcohol wines like German, Australian or New York Rieslings give the palate some relief from a spicy meal. A highly alcoholic wine would make you feel the burn.

Similar pairings: Spicy Asian food or highly spiced Mexican dishes like enchiladas also pair well with Riesling. A dry Gewurztraminer also pairs well with heart-pumping cuisine like Thai or Indian.

Salmon and Pinot Noir

Why they're a perfect pair:
While fish typically pairs better with white wine, salmon's flavor will stand up to the bold but not too tannic flavor of Pinot Noir. Consider regional pairings – salmon harvested in from Pacific Northwest pairs well with the Pinots from that area.

Similar pairings to try: Pinot Noir also pairs well with other fatty fishes like tuna, especially when it's served rare or raw.

Stilton and Port

Why they're a perfect pair:
The contrast! The salty cheese and the sweet wine contrast beautifully, but both are aged long enough to develop a similar earthy, tawny flavor.

Similar pairings to try: Serve sweet wines like port, sherry and Madeira with salty and/or strong cheeses such as Roquefort, Stilton and other blue or pungent cheeses.

Lamb and Bordeaux

Why they're a perfect pair:
Because of the gamey flavor, lamb shines with a wine that has a rich, bold personality to stand up to it. Bordeaux is bold and fruity, and the fatty richness of the meat helps absorb some of the wine's tannins.

Similar pairings: Pair aromatic wines with bold flavors and maybe even some smokiness to pair with lamb or other game, such as venison.

More Recipes and Ideas
Perfect Pina

Recipe courtesy of

Absolute Perfection

Recipe courtesy of