Wine Pairing – What food goes with what wine…

No other world cuisine benefits from food and wine pairing as much as French food. It is the wonderful aromas of food and wine that combine together to create a meal at the heart of French traditions. The French understand food in a totally different way and maybe the reason for this is the wonderful selection of wines on their doorstep!! In savouring the balance and flavours of food, both as individual ingredients and complicated dishes, a French meal with wine paired well, is something close to heaven. Ultimately a perfect French wine pairing can only enhance the food. 

Exactly How do You Pair Food and Wine?

The French enjoy a glass of wine with many of their meals, a small luxury on a daily basis. This wine can be a local homegrown wine and is often paired with local foods and produce. More complex wines are kept for special meals and occasions with family and friends. Understanding the basics of how we pair the wines, and what to consider is how it all works.

The Basic Rules on Pairing

Rule Number 1: Red wine goes with meat, and white wine goes with seafood and poultry.

Rule Number 2: Try experimenting more and understanding what it is you like.

There are many wines that are simply amazing with certain foods but overall the wine from France is so good, the main point is to take pleasure in sipping the wine and enhancing your dining experience.

front view fresh fish slices with wine and ice on dark background

Food pairing and Wines to consider

If, like most people, you have a small number of wines that are your favourites and don’t do much experimenting beyond those few bottles, try pairing different varieties of wine with the meals you cook to understand the basics of wine tasting. We all enjoy serving the perfect bottle of wine with the perfect meal and getting that right is a science but it’s also about understanding what works together and what you prefer. As we all know what we like is very individual and so looking at some of our suggestions might be easy but we do suggest you try a wine to see if you can feel the flavour working with your meal.

The acidity, body, aromas, and flavours of wine are all factors to consider when searching for one to match a specific dish. 

woman enjoying delicious wine in a restaurant

These elements mean different thing to different palates and tastes.

Acid: Sour and sharp notes of the wine will determine the acidity level. This is much like biting into a super sour apple feels on the palate as it hits your tongue with a sharp sensation.

Body: The body of the wine is established by the weight and mouthfeel when you taste it. It can be light, also called thin, or it can be heavy, creamy even oily. As with all wine tastes, the body is the opinion of the taster.

Aroma: The aroma, or bouquet, of wine, is about the smell. The nose of wine can be one or two notes or a complex mix of aromas that blend and change as the wine is swirled and exposed to air. Try to identify earthy, floral, fruity, and nutty notes, among many others. In our shop at Wells House in Wexford, we have a selection of aromas you can try to combine that will help you understand your flavours and preferences.

Flavour: The flavour of the wine is mostly determined by its aromas; what we smell is what we taste which will be unrelated to the smell. For example, a wine may have a light, fruity bouquet, or deep, earthy flavours. You are likely to find wines with nutty aromas that become coffee-chocolate notes of flavour.

Combining all of this:

Matching the food to wine is easier than it sounds. Determine if it is light, spicy, sweet, or rich, and match it to your dish. The rule of thumb is to pair wine with food that equals its intensity. A flavourful chicken recipe will go well with a light, spicy-sweet white, a steak with a heavier sauce to a full-bodied, strong red.

Suggestions for traditional Food and Wine Pairings

Sancerre, Domaine des Clairneaux
Pouilly Fumé, Domaine Berthier

Sauvignon Blanc with blue cheese. Try our Pouilly-Fumé, Domaine Berthier or a Sancerre, our Sancerre, Domaine Berthier, is the classic and it’s just amazing.

Vin de Pays de Gascogne, Domaine d'Arton, Cuvée les Deux Cèdres

Chardonnay with chicken, scallops, lobster, and brie. Try our, Domaine de Preigne Chardonnay

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc with shrimp, pork, oysters, and whitefish. Try our Touraine Sauvignon

Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Domaine Joillot

Pinot Noir with salmon, fatty fish, and duck. Our Bourgogne Pinot Noir is amazing.

Burgundy Chardonnay, Côte Chalonnaise

Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Domaine Joillot

Red or white Burgundy with turkey, pheasant, and quail. Our White or Red Bourgogne have to be tried to be believed!

Margaux, cuvée "initial de Desmirail" by Châteaux Desmirail

Red Bordeaux with lamb. A special lamb meal deserves a special red. Our Margaux, cuvée “Initial de Desmirail” by Châteaux Desmirail is a classic French wine.

Vin de Pays D'Oc, Cuvée "La Petite Source", Domaine Robert Vic

Cabernet Sauvignon with beef, venison, and pork. Our La Petite Source is perfect for barbecues or light snacks

Pommard, Domaine Joillot

Burgundy with braised meat and game. Try our Pommard, Domaine Joillot

White wine served with whitefish. Our suggestion is Riesling – Materne Haegelin

Overall, all our wines are chosen with the very simply idea that we would not sell a wine we would not serve with friends. So be assured that all our wines are tried and tested and bought with confidence and knowledge that they are simply amazing wines!

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