Mother Earth Living

Wine + Herbs: Food and Wine Pairing Chart

By Tabitha Alterman
February/March 2011
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• Flavor Quality: Acidi/Tart
Whites: Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel (young)
Notes: Acidic, fruity and crisp wines

• Flavor Quality: Bitter
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir but avoid highly tannic wines
Notes: Wine with moderate tannins

• Flavor Quality: Butter and Butter Sauce
Whites: Burgundy, Chardonnay (esp. buttery), sparkling, Viognier

Flavor Quality: Creamy-Savory
Whites: Burgundy, Chardonnay (buttery), Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling, Viognier
Notes: Avoid red wine. Cut the cream with something lively and bright.

• Flavor Quality: Creamy-Sweet
Whites: Muscat, Riesling (sweet), Sauternes, Vouvray (sweet)
Reds: Madeira, port (tawny)
Notes: Late harvest and ice wines

• Flavor Quality: Grilled
Whites: Chardonnay, Gewürtraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling Zinfandel
Reds: Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Rhone, rosé, Sangiovese, Syrah/Shiraz
Notes: Fruity, medium to full-bodied wines; tannic red wines

• Flavor Quality: Rich (Fatty, Oily)
Whites: Chardonnay, sparkling
Reds: Pinot Noir
Notes: Acidic wines. The acidity cuts richness and cleanses the palate.

• Flavor Quality: Roasted
Whites: Sparkling
Notes: Medium to full-bodied wines; aged red wines

• Flavor Quality: Salty
Whites: Gewürtraminer, Muscadet, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, sherry, sparkling
Reds: rosé (dry), Zinfandel
Notes: Salty dishes and acids are perfect opposites. Try acidic, citrusy, cold and fruity wines; off-dry to sweet wines; dry white wines. Avoid high-alcohol, oaked and tannic wines.

• Flavor Quality: Smoked or Smoky
Whites: Gewürtraminer, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling, Viognier
Reds: Pinot Noir, rosé (dry), Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel
Notes: Fruity wine. Avoid high-alcohol, oaked and tannic wines.

• Flavor Quality: Sour
Whites: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
Notes: Acidic and/or dry wines. Avoid serving fine, aged wines if the dish has a lot of vinegar.

• Flavor Quality: Spicy
Whites: Chenin Blanc (off-dry), Gewürtraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Moscato d'Asti, Muscadet, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling (esp. off-oaked dry), Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling, Viognier, Vouvray
Reds: Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Rhone, Rioja, rosé (dry), Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel (esp. young)
Notes: Acidic, light-bodied and low-alcohol wines; fruity, off-dry red and white wines; sweet wine when there is a sweet element to the dish. Avoid high-alcohol, tannic wines.

• Flavor Quality: Steamed
Whites: Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling
Notes: Acidic, light-bodied white wines. Avoid intensely flavored and tannic wines.

• Flavor Quality: Sweet
Whites: Chenin Blanc, Gewürtraminer, Riesling (off-dry to sweet), sparkling (semisweet to sweet), Viognier, Vouvray
Reds: Madeira, port
Notes: Dessert wine; fruity, sweet, late harvest and ice wine. Opt for wines sweeter than the dessert.


Tabitha Alterman is the food editor at Mother Earth News and Natural Home magazines. She wonders if a small-fishbowl-sized glass counts as ONE glass of wine. 

Click here for the main article, 50 Ways to Pair Wine with Herbs.


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