What Goes with Wine? The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat With Your Wine

What Goes with Wine? The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat With Your Wine

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There’s nothing better than a perfect match: a burger and fries, grilled cheese and tomato soup, doughnuts and coffee, tacos and margaritas. Alone, they’re good; but together, they’re so much better. But what to eat with wine can be a bit more challenging.

Wine and food pairings can enrich the dining experience, elevating both the food and the wine so that the combination creates something more wonderful than either could be on their own. The right union can add that special je ne sais quoi to your meal, making it one to remember. 

With a bit of research, red, white, sparkling, rosé, and dessert wines can all have a perfect place in your rotation. Red wines range from light to full-bodied but are commonly rich and earthy. Whites are lighter in color with a more delicate flavor; they’re often crisp and acidic, though they can be full and buttery as well. Rosé is a pink wine that is lighter than red wine, and often has fruity undertones. Sparkling wines, often colloquially referred to as champagne, are a refreshing and celebratory carbonated wine. Dessert wine is a sweet wine, often with notes of honey or caramel, that is usually served (as the name implies) with dessert. 

What Goes with Wine: Tips and Tricks

food that goes well with wine The importance of your own palate cannot be overstated when trying to decide what goes well with wine. Each person has preferences for flavors, aromas, and sweetness. Knowing what you enjoy is the first step to finding your ideal pairing. Take some time to try a variety of wines. A mixed pack of single-serve bottles is the perfect way to start this journey. As you try a wine, contemplate how it feels in your mouth. Is it thick and rich? Or light and refreshing? Then notice the flavor profile. Is it fruity? Sweet? Tart? Can you find any deeper notes? 

Once you know what you like, it’s time to add in some tasty treats to go with your wine. Generally, a wine can either complement or match a food, but should not clash with it. Consider the basic flavors of food: salt, acid, sweetness, bitterness, fat, and spice. Every food will have some combination of these flavors, so take some time to consider these flavors in your food. Wine generally has acid, sweetness, and bitterness. White, rosé, and sparkling wine typically have a higher acidity which can make them sharper. Dessert wines are generally sweet, and red wines tend to be deep and bitter.

To make a congruent pairing, you want your food and wine to match in their flavors and richness. A light seafood meal with citrus will pair well with a white wine because they are both acidic. A rich red wine could go well with a grilled steak—their fullness makes a great match and the tannins in a red cut through the fat of red meat.

When pairing food and wine, you can also make a contrasting combination. Rather than matching their flavors, you can bring out the best in each one by choosing opposite tastes, as long as you are careful that they don’t clash. For instance, a sweet wine can be a perfect pairing with a spicy dish; the flavors are opposing, but they bring out the best in the other. Sometimes opposites really do attract. 

A good basic rule to remember is to pair light wines with light foods and rich wines with rich foods. This is an easy place to start. And with all the amazing wines available now, there’s a perfect wine for every food, whether you’re having a fancy, romantic dinner or a pizza night with friends.

Single-serve bottles can be a great way to try out pairings or allow your guests to choose the wine that they think would best complement the flavors of the dish.  

Pairing Ideas for What to Eat with Wine

what goes well with wine
Now, let’s dive into some perfect pairings. These ideas will guide you as you start your wine pairing journey and help make your meals more enjoyable and harmonious. Ultimately, the goal is to find a combo that complements and enhances the flavors of both the wine and the food, without overpowering or clashing with the other. 

Sparkling Wine Pairings

Brut is a dry, less sweet sparkling wine. A single-serve brut rosé is light, bright, and fruity. This carbonated pink wine is fresh and bubbly, so keep your foods light and fresh as well. 

  • Seafood

  • Light salad

  • Soft cheese

  • Brunch

single-serve champagne like brut works well with salty, fatty foods. The bubbles in brut will help cut through salt and fat, but its light color and flavor also play with lighter fare. The bubbles are great at cutting through fat, so try some fresh fried chicken with a sparkling wine. You might be surprised at how well they go together.

  • Salty snacks

  • Charcuterie

  • Fried chicken

  • Macaroni and cheese 

Red Wine Food Pairings

Red Wine Food Pairings

Because of the deep, rich flavors of red wine, you need to pair your single-serve red wine with something strong enough to stand up to it, with full, earthy notes. A good, rich meal with plenty of fats makes red wine sing. 
  • Steak

  • Beef stew

  • Lamb

  • Bold cheese 

White Wine Pairings

Single-serve pinot gris on the other hand, is lighter, with a clean, fresh feel. Because of its high acidity, citrus can create a great partnership, as well as pairing it with other foods high in acidity. Think about your favorite recipes that leave you feeling satisfied but not weighed down. 

  • Seafood

  • Sushi

  • Lightly seasoned chicken 

  • Mild cheeses 

Rosé Food Pairings

Single-serve rosé, with its crisp and fruity notes is a versatile wine that falls somewhere between a red and a white. The beautiful hue makes an appealing addition to any meal. This is a great choice to serve with your favorite summer dishes—anything that feels healthy, but flavorful.

  • Grilled vegetables 

  • Light fish dishes

  • Fresh salads

  • Turkey burgers 

What Wine to Serve with Cheese

Perhaps the most iconic of wine food pairings is wine and cheese, but it can be more complicated than one might think to make an ideal match. A mascarpone cheese goes perfectly with a rosé, but a more pungent cheese might be a good match for a dessert wine to lift it up. On the other hand, red wine will deepen the flavors of a blue cheese by bringing out all of its sharpness. A cheese tray with a variety of flavors is the ideal set up for an assortment of single serve wines. There’s no need to choose when you can have it all! 

How to Buy the Best Wine

Usual Wines focuses on taking the best grapes, utilizing the microclimates of California, and letting them shine. These wines are sustainable, clean, and made in small batches. They are then packaged into generous individually-sized bottles, so you’ll never have to waste half a bottle of wine again! You can find an excellent selection at Usualwines.com, including an optional subscription service, so you’ll be ready to try out all the food and wine pairings whenever the mood strikes.

Finding the best foods to pair with your favorite wine is a delicious excuse to experiment with a variety of wines and foods to find the best fit for your tastes. When selecting a wine to pair with a dish, consider the intensity, acidity, and flavor profile of both the wine and the food. There are guidelines to help you make good decisions, but don’t be afraid to try out different combinations—you might just stumble onto something unexpectedly wonderful.