Food and wine pairing: some basic rules

Accords mets vins (c) Pressmaster shutterstock

Accords mets vins (c) Savchenko shutterstock

Food and wine pairing (c) Savchenko shutterstock

No need to be a sommelier to know the basics of the art of pairing homemade dishes with nectars. From appetizer to dessert, meat, fish, vegetables and fruit harmonize with the most modest as well as the most prestigious wines. In moderation, of course.

Did you know ? As long as it is served the same throughout the meal, champagne is the only wine that can escort any dish from starter to dessert.


Tell me what you cook

Most of the time, types of cuisine are easily associated with large wine families. With or without a sommelier’s apron… It’s up to you!


  • Mediterranean cuisine
  • : Ratatouille, aïoli, piperade, homemade pizza… These sunny dishes based on zucchini, tomato, eggplant and bell pepper call for a choice of light and fruity red wines (to be served between 13°C and 14°C), lively and fruity rosé wines or vinous and full-bodied rosé wines (to be served between 9°C and 10°C).

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  • Light summer cooking : Raw vegetables, pasta and savoury vegetable tarts are ideal with lively and fruity rosé wines. In general, green vegetables go well with white wine (serve between 9°C and 10°C).
  • Cuisine du Sud-Ouest de terroir : Salad with gizzards, Sarladaises potatoes and duck confit… Without hesitation, the intensity of the aromas and textures commands the structure of a fleshy and fruity red wine (to be served between 15°C and 16°C).
  • : As a general rule, red wines are not the most relevant on spicy or very spicy dishes. With dishes such as, for example, vegetable or potato and pea wok, Thai-style potato curry, potato tagine with candied lemons… the very aromatic dry white wines (to be served between 7°C and 8°C) hit the spot, just like the rosé.
  • Festive dishes : Guinea fowl, duck breast, roasted meat, foie gras, potato gratin and pumpkin with truffle… These dishes go divinely with red wines, tannic and racy. One rule is that game birds go well with a robust white (to be served between 11°C and 12°C) and game birds with a full-bodied red (between 17°C and 18°C).

Please note: potato goes well with all wines. The choice of this one will be made mainly according to the meat or fish present in the dish.

Accords mets vins (c) Pressmaster shutterstock

Food-wine pairings (c) Pressmaster shutterstock

For a good harmony of flavors


Your dish or main ingredient has a dominant flavor? Here are some tips on how to combine it with the right nectar.

    Bitter

  • . Artichokes, asparagus, endives, spinach… Beware, minefield: bitterness makes wines hard and drying. The so-called sweet (or mellow) white wines, on the other hand, enhance vegetables more.
  • Acid

  • .
  • Sweet . Some fruits (peach, cherry, prune, pineapple…) make the red astringent and the white too biting. A mellow fruity wine or a mellow wine will optimize the balance.
  • Salty . The acidity, freshness and tonicity of a young wine (white or red) is a must.

Fruity desserts on the plate

. Sparkling, dry, semi-dry or rosé wines, as well as sweet wines, go best with fruit. In salads, in salads, fried, in pies, crumbles or clafoutis, they offer their freshness and sweetness to the final note of the meal. A sweet wine, a natural sweet wine or a wine with a mutation (to which a neutral alcohol has been added to stop fermentation and preserve residual sugars) will be appropriate. Sugar can harden a dry white wine or make a red wine astringent.

Accords mets vins (c) Savchenko - shutterstock

Food and wine pairing (c) Savchenko – shutterstock


    When it comes to food and wine pairing, it is possible to shake up the codes, as long as a few rules are followed. Here’s what you need to offer your guests an escapade in a land of contrasts.


  • A mineral white wine with beef

  • . An agreement which plays the complementarity, provided that the beef is served with a cream-based sauce (why not with mushrooms?). The acidity of the wine thus acts in contrast with the fat of the meat in the sauce.
  • A red wine with shellfish. A red too rich in tannins could cause an unpleasant metallic sensation in the mouth. Chosen light and with a touch of acidity, the red nevertheless works wonders with langoustines, crayfish and lobster.
Bouteilles de vins (c) S_Photo shutterstock Wine bottles (c) S_Photo shutterstock

Enjoy, in moderation!

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