Food & Wines Pairing Rules – Food Style


From “Perfect Pairings” A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice fro Partnering Wine & Food – Evan Goldstein

When the food is…….


– Serve a wine which is equally sharp or even more so, or the wine will taste off and shattered

– Avoid red wine, except those of a sharper nature (Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Gamay)

– Don’t overlook dry roses and sparkling wines as option.

Slightly Sweet

– Make certain that the wine accompanying the food shares its personality traits: choose a wine that is slightly sweet, such as Chenin Blanc, Riesling or even sake.

– If you really want a dry wine, serve one that’s young and very, very ripe.

– Remember that sometimes a wine with oak can work if the wood’s sweetness mirrors that of the dish; however, success is not guaranteed.




– Pick wines with low to moderate alcohol content, as the wine’s heat will be exaggerated by the salt.

– Play with wines that have some sweetness; salt and sweet can enjoy each other’s company.

– Avoid wines with high levels of oak or tannin.

Spicy & Hot

– The spicier the dish, the more difficult it is to pair with wine. 

– Select young wines with low to moderate alcohol content, minimal (or no) oak, and if possible some residual sugar (for whites and rose).

– Among still wines, stick to off-dry whites and roses; sparkling wines can be nice foils for heat.

– You may have to forgo with 5 alarm chili or those Thai, Indian and Korean dishes that make your hair stand on end.  Opt instead for beer and yougurt based drinks, along with large bowl of rice.


– Select wines with bitter components (oak aging, tannins) to complement the personality of the recipe.

– Try wines with high acidity.  This doesn’t work but it’s better than the opposite extreme. After all, tannin is an acid.


Dominated by a strong sauce or condiment

– Forget the main dish and match the wine to the sauce or condiments and side dishes.

Served very hot

– Allow the dish to cool off, or it will ruin your enjoyment of the wine and make the alcohol (by heating it) seem overwhelming.

– Serve chilled wines if it’s essential that the dish be served very hot.



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