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Wine and food pairing is a timeless art and one that has been perfected over centuries. While most people tend to associate wine pairing with the traditional red or white wine options, there is a world of possibilities beyond these two popular choices. In this article, we will explore the art of food and wine pairing, with a focus on some unconventional but delicious wine pairing options.

The Art of Food and Wine Pairing: Beyond Red and White
Glasses with rose, red and white wine on dark background

The Unconventional Pairings

Wine pairing is all about finding the perfect balance between the wine and the food. While traditional pairings like red wine with steak and white wine with fish work well, some unconventional pairings can take your dining experience to the next level.

Rosé and Seafood

Rosé is often associated with summer days and light meals, but it can also be a perfect pairing for seafood. The acidity of the rosé complements the lightness of the seafood, making it a refreshing and delicious pairing.

Sparkling Wine and Fried Food

Fried food can be a tricky pairing, as the high-fat content can overwhelm the wine. However, a dry sparkling wine can cut through the grease and provide a refreshing balance to the dish.

Dessert Wine and Savory Dishes

Dessert wine is typically reserved for sweet treats, but it can also be a surprising pairing for savoury dishes. The sweetness of the wine can complement the saltiness of the dish, creating a unique and flavorful experience.

Fortified Wine and Chocolate

Fortified wines like port and sherry are often paired with dessert, but they can also be a great match for chocolate. The richness of the chocolate is complemented by the sweetness of the wine, creating a decadent and indulgent pairing.

Orange Wine and Spicy Food

Orange wine is a type of white wine that is made by leaving the grape skins on during the fermentation process. This results in a wine with a distinctive orange hue and a complex flavour profile. It is a perfect pairing for spicy food, as the tannins in the wine can help to balance the heat.

The Science Behind Wine Pairing

The key to successful wine pairing is understanding the science behind it. There are three main components to consider when pairing wine with food: acidity, tannins, and sweetness.

The Role of Acidity

Acidity is an important factor in wine pairing, as it can help to balance out rich or fatty foods. Wines with high acidity, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, are perfect for pairing with dishes like fish, salads, and tomato-based sauces.

The Role of Tannins

Tannins are compounds found in the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes. They give the wine its characteristic bitterness and astringency. Tannins are often found in red wines and are a great pairing for fatty meats like beef and lamb.

The Role of Sweetness

Sweetness is another important factor in wine pairing. Sweeter wines, like Riesling and Moscato, are perfect for pairing with spicy or salty dishes. The sweetness can help to balance out the heat or saltiness of the food.

The Perfect Pairing

There are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to pairing wine with food. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Tips for Pairing Wine with Food

  • Consider the weight of both the wine and the food. Lighter wines pair well with lighter dishes, while heavier wines are better suited to heartier meals.
  • Look for complementary flavours. A wine with notes of citrus will pair well with a dish that has lemon or lime flavours.
  • Consider the cooking method of the dish. Grilled or roasted dishes pair well with wines that have a smoky or oaky flavour.

The Importance of Experimentation

The best way to discover the perfect wine and food pairing is through experimentation. Try different combinations and see what works best for your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the traditional pairings and try something new.

The Benefits of Pairing Food and Wine

Pairing food and wine can elevate your dining experience to new heights. The right pairing can enhance the flavours of both the wine and the food, creating a truly unforgettable experience.


Wine pairing is an art form that has been perfected over centuries. While traditional pairings like red and white wines are always a safe bet, countless unconventional pairings can take your dining experience to the next level. By understanding the science behind wine pairing and experimenting with different options, you can create the perfect pairing that brings out the best in both the wine and the food.

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