The point of this food and wine pairing cheat sheet is to enhance both the food on your plate and the wine in your glass. The ultimate goal is to have both your meal’s and your wine’s best flavours and textures compliment each other perfectly. Your dining experience can go from good to outstanding if you follow these simple principles. Of course, ultimately, the choice is yours as wine is all about personal preference.


A Wine-Lovers Food & Wine Pairing Cheat Sheet:


Tip 1: Acidity is your friend

Acidity in wine mitigates the acidity in food which makes the flavour of both the food and the wine seem a little softer and sweeter.


Tip 2: A little salt is also your friend

A little salt can make a grippy, tannic wine seem softer and smoother.


Tip 3: Umami (savoury) makes you bitter

Avoid wine with high tannins or a lot of oak treatment or the flavours will be bitter.


Tip 4: Match flavour intensity

Balance is key. Don’t let the wine over-power the food or the food over-power the wine.

Wine Balance

Tip 5: If it grows together, it goes together

Try matching regional food with wines from that same region. French cheese and meats always pair best with French wines.

French Wine

Tip 6: Pair like with like

Match flavours, body and texture to create harmony.

Wine Flavours


Tip 7: Opposites Attract

Sometimes your best wine and food pairing is something totally off-the-wall. It might not be the safest bet, but it won’t be boring!

Wine Opposites


Tip 8: Fish and red wine is just fine

You can drink red wine with fish, but only if the wine’s acidity is high & the tannins are low.

Red Wine & Fish


Tip 9: Chili heat is risky

Pair spicy foods with low alcohol, fruity wines that have mouthwatering acidity. Mouth-drying tannins and high alcohol in wines increases the burn from spicy foods.


Tip 10: Save the sweet stuff for dessert

When pairing wine with dessert, choose a wine that is just as sweet as your dessert – or even a little sweeter.

Dessert Wine

Tip 11: When in doubt, choose champage

The acidity, effervescence and complex flavours of Champagne are all very food-friendly – and delicious!



Tip 12: When it comes to wine pairing rules, there are no rules

Personal preference always prevails for pairings. If it tastes good to you, do it!

No Rules


Hungry for more great food and wine pairing lessons? Check out these links:

The Best Food & Wine Pairings for the Soul
Eggs Benedict & Wine Pairings in Calgary, AB
An Easy Guide to Pairing Wine & Cheese
Wine & Donut Pairings