top of page

10 Cardinal Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairings

Wine is an enigma that we all enjoy, especially when we pair it with something that enhances its flavor. However, unless you’re a professional sommelier, choosing the right wine pairing might seem like a daunting task. But, don’t worry, we’re here to help! Our top 10 cardinal rules will help you pick the perfect wine to complement your meal. Whether you are hosting a dinner party, a romantic date, or you just want to enjoy a glass of wine with your favorite dish, read on for our top tips.

Balance Flavors

your wines by dena, order wine online Orange County

A good rule of thumb is to match the weight of the dish with the weight of the wine. Heavy dishes such as steak or roasted vegetables go well with full-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec, while light dishes such as seafood or salads complement light and crisp wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

Consider Acidity

Wines that are high in acidity, such as Sauvignon Blanc, work well with acidic foods like tomatoes and citrusy dishes. On the other hand, low-acidic wines like Merlot or Syrah pair well with creamy and buttery dishes.

Match Sweetness

Sweeter dishes require a sweeter wine. If you’re indulging in a dessert, pair it with sweet wines like Port or Moscato. Similarly, spicy foods require semi-sweet and crisp wines, such as Rosé or Riesling.

Contrast Pairings

Much like the saying goes, “Opposites attract”, pairing wines with contrasting flavors creates a unique dining experience. A good example of this pairing is spicy Mexican food with a bold and tannic Malbec.

Don’t Overpower

Avoid overpowering your food with wine, or vice versa. For subtle dishes such as fish or vegetables, opt for a light and refreshing wine.

Pair with the Sauce

One of the best rules of thumb when pairing wine and food is to pair the wine with the sauce rather than the meat. For instance, if you’re having a tomato-based sauce, pair it with Chianti or Sangiovese.

Consider the Cooking Method

The cooking method also plays a crucial role in determining the perfect wine pairing. Grilled dishes go well with robust red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, while poached fish complements light white wines like Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay.

Take the Region into Account

When in doubt, opt for regional pairings. A good example of this is pairing a Bordeaux wine with steak or scallops with a Burgundy wine.

Match the Occasion

The occasion also plays a role in wine pairing. Choose full-bodied and rich wines like Bordeaux for special occasions or romantic dinners, and light wines like Chardonnay for casual brunches or lunches.


At the end of the day, wine pairing is all about experimenting and finding the perfect match for your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to try and pair different wines with your favorite dishes until you find the one you love.

Pairing wine doesn’t have to be intimidating. With our top 10 cardinal rules, you now have the tools to confidently choose the perfect wine pairing for your meal. Remember, every dish is unique, and every individual’s taste buds are different, so don’t hesitate to experiment until you find your favorite pairing. The world of wine is your oyster, so go out there, uncork a bottle, and enjoy the perfect pairing. Cheers!

Order wine online and get free local delivery in OC with Your Wines by Dena >

21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page