Beginning to Pair Wine With Food: Art or Science

Is pairing food with wine an art or science? How to pair food and wine is a debatable subject. However, there is a lot that we can learn from the art or science debate. For instance, many culinary institutions believe that food influences wine. This thought is rather than the reverse of many opinions of wine influencing food!


Red Wine Varietals


Did you know that over fifty grape varieties are used to make several wine varieties? Most of these varieties are cultivated for food and wine creation. This wide variety of grapes contributes to the wines produced.


There are six major red wine varieties. The names are Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese. Also, there are six common white wine varieties. They include Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, and Gewurztraminer. Here is expanded information about red and white wine varietals:


Red Wines

  • Merlot - This is a more fruit-intensive wine with more velvety tannins that are softer than Cabernet. Oak flavors characterize it, including black and red cherries.

  • Pinot Noir - A wine with a velvety texture, and can be complex. This selection is richer and has sophisticated notes. It is possible to notice many fruit flavors throughout. Flavors of blackberries, black cherries, and plums can be prevalent. Other flavors that are commonly apparent include dried roses, bark, cola, and hints of black pepper spice. Also, you may notice mushroom flavors that taste slightly earthy. This selection is considered to be a more flexible wine pairing with food because of the higher acidity levels.

  • Zinfandel - With a full-bodied flavor, it has a stronger fruit profile that can be spicy. Some flavors you may encounter include plums, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, boysenberries, and black cherries. Also, small hints of black pepper, licorice, tobacco, cedar, light oak, or vanilla may be tasted as part of its flavor profile.

White Wines

  • Chardonnay - When this wine is of higher quality, it can have a bolder and richer taste. Some of the flavor profiles include apple, fig, pear, melon, pineapple, peach, and a variety of citrus fruits. It is possible to taste small hints of butter, butterscotch, honey, or hazelnut as well. However, this white wine is known for having toasted oak, apple, or vanilla flavors.

  • Riesling - Contrary to the bold-bodied Chardonnay, this white wine is a light-bodied white wine that has a deep flavor and can be very aromatic. Many individuals would describe each flavor as having a crisper note. High-quality Riesling has honeysuckle or flora aromas that are mellowed with hints of roses, tarragon, apricots, or grapefruit.

  • Chenin Blanc - A white wine with higher alcohol content and full-bodied. This selection can have a near oily texture and can be found in a variety of styles ranging from sweet to dry. The fruitiness of this white wine is subtle and can have spicy overtones.

Many methodologies are referenced to pair food with various varieties of wine. Each combination selected depends on how adventurous you wish to be. For instance, it can be easier to go with familiar food and wine pairings for large gatherings.


If you want to impress your guests, it is essential to consider the key preferences of the guests and the specific occasion when creating wine and food pairings. Also, the type of food served sets the tone for the pairing combinations. Therefore, it is best to choose wines that enhance the food served as a precept.


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