Choosing the right food companion for your favourite red wine can be a match made in heaven. While learning the food and wine pairings may seem overwhelming, the basics are in fact quite simple. The rule of thumb says that red wine is best paired with a hearty meal, while white wines are perfect tablemates with fish and chicken. 

Whether you are looking for easy meals to pair with red wine or an explosion of rich flavours and spices, the right food brings out the enticing aromas of wine in the most delicious way.

Have you ever made an amazing wine and food pairing? If not, now you`ll learn how. 




Red Wine Basics 

There is an entire science behind this “Beverage of Gods”. With the millions of wine enthusiasts in the world,  some people still feel intimidated by red wine. Typically, red wine has a complex structure, taste and aromas. While most of the reds are dry and slightly bitter, you can find a wealth of sweet red wines on the market. Wine experts say that good wine offers a perfect balance of sweet, sour and bitter flavours. The colour varies from light red to purple, or even brown, depending on the grape variety and age of the wine. In most cases, the darker the colour, the older the wine. 

The Best Foods to Pair with Red Wine

Hearty dishes with rich flavours are the best companions to red wine. Most people choose a food that is equally bold as the wine. The most popular red wine and food pairings include:

1. Pinot Noir: This light-bodied red wine is best paired with earthy-based dishes like mushroom pasta, barbecue pork ribs, cheese and charcuterie, and beef bourguignon. 

2. Malbec: Excellent companion for cheese plates, including melted and blue cheese. The classic pairing for a nice Malbec is steak, but it`s also great with poultry, fatty fish and appetizers.

3. Merlot: Great with pasta and starch-based dishes, roasted vegetables, meat, and aged cheese.

4. Cabernet Sauvignon:  The best choice for all red meat lovers. It`s also great with mushroom risotto, veggie burgers and the classic steak and French fries. 

5. Zinfandel: Bold and fruit-forward, this red wine is a perfect match with smokey and spicy dishes like barbecue, Asian food, smoked cheese, turkey, braises and stews.

6. Grenache: Light-bodied Grenache is a perfect match with barbecue, hearty salmon or pork, The full-bodied version makes the ultimate pairing with lasagna, grilled meat and smokey barbecue sauces.

7. Tempranillo: With strong earthy and savoury notes, this red wine loves pizza, lasagna and pasta with tomato-based sauces. It`s also a great choice for Mexican food lovers as it makes a delicious match with burritos, tacos and nachos. 

Extra tip: For the best red wine and food experience, try Chateauneuf Du Pape paired with rich flavours like Morrocan chicken tagine, roast lamb with tomatoes, mushrooms, barbecued beef ribs and venison stew.

What Should You Not Eat with Red Wine 

There are certain foods that make wine taste bad and vice versa. The carefully crafted wine profile requires carefully chosen food pairings to bring out the most delicate and flavorful characteristics of the wine. Some of the following foods can just do the opposite, and it`s good for you to beware.

Brussel Sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and beetroot

Asparagus and other green leafy vegetables

Sushi combined with red wine can cause an unpleasant metallic aftertaste

Soy Sauce has a strong salty-sour flavour that doesn’t go by the hand with red wine

Chocolate and wine may sound perfect, but the pair is mutually exclusive

Fortunately, all these foods can be paired with another type of wine, and reach the maximum of their taste.

Healthy Food Pairing with Red Wine

Red wine can be a great match with healthy food as well. People who tend to avoid heavy or greasy meals can also enjoy a glass of their favourite red wine. While most of the suggested plates are vegetarian, you can always add a touch of meat protein to your meal. 

1. Persian eggplant and tomato stew (with or without beef) pairs beautifully with a glass of Pinot Noir.

2. Grilled cauliflower with rich romesco sauce can be complemented with cool-climate Merlot.

3. Rich and flavorful Ratatouille is an excellent tablemate with Syrah.

4. Grilled portobello mushrooms with chimichurri and Cabernet Sauvignon.

5. Basque garlic soup and Zinfandel

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