The Basics of a Good Wine Pairing

March 5, 2009

Think outside the bottle. Experience how well food and wine can complement each other.

The Whites

Chardonnay is a very versatile wine grape: its flavour and aromas are easily
influenced by where it’s grown and how it’s made. Fruit flavours range
from apple and lime in cooler climates to tropical fruits in warmer

-Chardonnay is a favourite with seafood. Minerally versions, like those from
Chablis, France, pair particularly well with oysters.  

Riesling is a crisp, clean wine with green apple, pear and lime flavours. The
best offer pleasing mineral qualities as well. With age, Riesling takes
on honey flavours and attractive oily aromas. 

-Riesling pairs nicely with spicy foods, poultry and pork. Try it with Thai food.  

Pinot Gris is made from grapes that generally produce different styles of wine
depending on where the grapes are grown and how they’re handled in the

-Versatile, Pinot Gris can go well with seafood and pasta dishes, vegetarian food and poultry.  

Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, crisp, aromatic wine with grapefruit and grassy flavors. This wine is the star of the Loire region of France. 

-Sauvignon Blanc is a food-friendly wine that goes well with many seafood, poultry and vegetable dishes.  

The Reds

Merlot is a soft, supple wine with nice fruit flavours of plums and blackberries
and occasionally mint, chocolate and eucalyptus flavours and aromas.
Typically, it is ready to drink earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, which
sometimes needs a few years for its astringent tannins to mellow.  

Cabernet Sauvignon is more assertive than Merlot, with more tannin and greater aging
potential. It can have flavours of blackberries, plums, black currants,
and cassis. Aged in oak, Cabernet Sauvignon can take on flavours of
vanilla, cedar, chocolate, and coffee.

-Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are very nice with meat dishes like beef and lamb.  

Pinot Noir, a notoriously difficult grape to grow, made its mark initially inBurgundy, France. The grape continues to deliver single-varietal wines that are among the best in the world. Pinot Noirs are delicate wines that taste of red fruits like cherries, raspberries and strawberries.

With age, flavours and aromas become more complex, developing earthy
notes like mushrooms and decaying leaves. Burgundy in particular is
noted for developing these earthy flavours. 

-Pinot Noir is a versatile food wine, great with poultry, salmon, meat and vegetable dishes.  

Syrah is at home in the Rhone region of France, where the grape makes spicy,
rich, darkly delicious wines that increase in complexity as they age.

-Syrah is a very versatile wine that pairs well with a wide variety of foods. It’s terrific with grilled meats.


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