Food & Wine Pairings

food-wine-dinner-party.jpgChoosing a wine to go with a meal can feel overwhelming when you want to create an impression on a guest. In truth, it doesn’t have to be. While some pairings definitely work better than others, there are no really wrong answers. Traditionally, people have paired white with lighter proteins such as white fish, seafood and chicken and reds with red meat but it doesn’t have to be that way. The sauce, seasonings and other components of the dish can be just as important. The latter is very helpful when you have a guest that cannot drink red wine and you plan on serving steaks. The important thing to remember is that you don’t want the meal to overpower the wine or vice versa. Because everyone’s tastes differ, there are guidelines but experimentation with what you enjoy is the best way to find a good match.

food-white-wine.jpgWhite wines tend to have a higher acidity than red wines. The acidity in white wine can act as a palate cleanser and cuts cleanly through the creaminess of dishes such as fettucine alfredo or risotto. Some vintages have a much higher acidity than others. One the higher end of acidity you have wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Pinot Blanc. Low acidity whites tend to do better with very light sauces. They include Semillon and Marsanne.

Whites also generally lack the tannins of red wine, which comes from the skins and stems that are left with the wine during the fermentation process. There are some white wines that do have tannins though, particularly those aged in new oak barrels, such as some Chardonnays. The latter are a good choice for those seeking to pair a white wine with red meat or something traditionally served with red wine.

Generally, reds are more robust than white wines. They can match a heavier meal more comfortably than most of the more delicate white wines. Red wines are often defined by their tannins. Really tannins are another type of acid, one derived from the stems and skins of the grapes. It is the tannins that are believed to be the culprit for those who get headaches from red wine. High tannin levels do well with fatty foods such as deep fried foods. They also match up nicely with well marbled red meats and fatty poultry such as duck and goose. High tannin reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Medoc, Chianti, Sangiovese, and Pinot Noir. Low tannin reds are generally more food friendly and go with most foods. They include Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Barbera, and Garnache.

Both white and red wines range from light-bodied to heavy-bodied in the mouth. Matching heavy-bodied wines with something light such as a grilled white fish with little or no sauce is a mistake. The wine will overpower the dish. Many varietals have a range within them as well so it is always important to read the label.

When pairing wine and food, experimentation with what you enjoy is key. You can choose complimentary or contrasting flavours and do well. Much will depend on what you enjoy in a wine. If you only like red wine, then choose a lighter-bodied, low tannin red such as Merlot to go with lighter fare like salads. Because there is such a huge variety of wines, there really is something for everyone. You can use the chart below as a guideline but don’t be afraid to try other pairings. Enjoy!


Best Varietals

Creamy sauces and pastas Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc
Red Tomato Based Sauces Barbera, Merlot, Sangiovese, Gamay, Carmenere
Steak, Lamb, Venison Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Petit Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel
Salads, Light Sauces Semillon, Marsanne, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot
Grilled Chicken Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Barbera
White Fish Pinot Grigio, Marsanne, Pinot Blanc, Trebbiano, Semillon
Seafood Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne
Trout, Salmon, Tuna Sauternes, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot
Spicy Foods - Asian, Thai, Cajun Viognier, Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, Zinfandel
Deep Fried Foods Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay
Duck Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Mourvedre, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer,
Roast Chicken Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling
Burgers Barbera, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Tempranillo
Barbeque Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Merlot, Tempranillo
Pickup / Delivery / Shipping Information & Classifications

L = Local Pickup/Delivery: All products in this store are available for Local Pickup at Wine Store if there's no food in order, Local Pickup at ShopRite From Home location at Southside of parking lot if any food is included in order and we'll deliver locally to over 60 surrounding towns/cities from our Little Falls, NJ location.

W = Fedex Shipping: = We ship 375-750ml Wine, Cigars & select Beer bottles to DC plus over 36 US States allowable by law which include AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, IA, ID, IL, KS, LA, ME, MI, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WI.

N = NJ Spirits/Beer Shipments: = We ship 375-750ml Spirits & Beer bottles to NJ Zip Codes only.

F = Free Shipping Promotions: = We offer FREE SHIPPING on certain wine bottles. Wine bottles with the classification F3, F6 or F12 means you need to purchase at least that amount of bottles in order to qualify for Free Shipping. (ie. F3 means you need to purchase at least 3 bottles to qualify)

Questions?: If you have any questions, you can e-mail, call the store directly at 973-256-5551.

ShopRite Wines & Spirits

Local Pick Up Information | Customer Service

ShopRite Wines & Spirits

Local Delivery Information | Customer Service | Towns/Cities We Deliver Locally To

ShopRite Wines & Spirits

FedEx Shipping Information | Customer Service | List of US States