Not everyone knows which wine to order when dining out, and not every restaurant has a sommelier on staff to help make selections. If you recently made reservations and need a little guidance, check out our six expert-recommended wine and food pairings below. If you need help finding a restaurant, Dex can help with that too.
1. Albariño and Grilled Fish
In its “Summer Wine Guide,” Food & Wine magazine suggests this Spanish wine as an excellent pairing with seafood of all kinds, thanks to its “grapefruity tang.” The magazine gave the 2006 Bodegas Fillaboa its Star Selection for this wine and food pairing; look for it on the wine menu at your favorite seafood restaurants.
2. Burgundian-style Chardonnay and Cream Sauces
A Burgundian-style Chardonnay, for the record, means the wine is “subtly aged in oak,” according to the Epicurious website. This chardonnay paired with dishes topped with cream sauces — from pork chops to pasta — creates a surprising balance between the richness of the dish and the oakiness of the wine. The website recommends the Long Boat Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for a wine and food pairing.
3. Malbec and Grilled Steak
Food & Wine magazine recommends that red-meat lovers order Malbec to go with a choice cut. This darkly fruity wine, often from Argentina’s Mendoza region, has hints of black pepper and leather. Food & Wine also notes its affordability. The magazine gave the 2005 Mapema its Star Selection for this wine and food pairing; look for it on the wine menu at your favorite steak restaurant.
4. Riesling and Sushi
When you’re not in the mood for a Japanese beer, order a Riesling to complement your sushi rolls and sashimi. Sunset magazine describes the wine as having “delicate white peach, green apple and lime flavors — or riper apricot, nectarine, and mandarin orange.” Sunset does not recommend a specific Riesling, so be adventurous and find a new favorite. However, keep in mind some rieslings are very sweet. The ones that aren’t will be described as “dry” or “semi-sweet,” to indicate a trace of sweetness.
5. Shiraz and a Hamburger
Even the most casual dishes on a restaurant menu can be paired with a wine. Prevention magazine suggests Shiraz, also known as Syrah, as a match for a beef burger — you can’t go wrong with a medium-bodied Shiraz. But if ordering a turkey or chicken burger, opt for a lighter white.
6. Zinfandel and Barbecue
Sunset magazine recommends the American Zinfandel as an excellent match for a multitude of dishes at a barbecue restaurant. It describes Zinfandel as a mouth-filling wine with intense dark berries, dried cherries, plums, chocolate and black pepper. Sunset suggests choosing a wine from a cooler area if you dislike overly fruity Zinfandels.
The most important aspect of learning to pair food and wine involves leaving any intimidation you feel at home. If you order a wine you don’t like, simply make a note and move on. Never let a less-than-perfect pairing ruin a meal.
If you’re not sure which restaurant to choose for your wining and dining, check Dex’s restaurant listings.
Category: Food & Dining