Red wine pairs well with hearty meats like beef, as well as chocolate. White wine goes with seafood and chicken. These are just a couple of points on dinners with wine pairings that you may have heard before. But, there is so much more to it! And we want to tell you all about it.
In this blog, we'll review some surprising and innovative examples of how to pair wines with your favorite autumn meals—but first, let's make sure you aren't overwhelmed by all of the wine-specific terminologies! Here are some of the basic terms used in the world of wine tasting and what they mean:
- Palate: Your palate is the roof of your mouth. The word also is used to describe what flavors you can taste in a food or beverage. "Stone fruit on the palate" would mean that you can taste hints of peaches, plums, or other small fruit with a pit when you taste the wine.
- In (or On) the Nose: Not surprisingly, this term refers to what you can smell. "Tobacco in (or on) the nose" means would might notice hints of tobacco in the wine's aroma.
- Bouquet: Another word to describe the aroma of wine is its bouquet.
- Breathing: Once decanted or poured, a wine's exposure to air allows it to "open up." A wine's flavors change once it's exposed to oxygen, usually for the better, and become less intense or sharp.
- Tannin: The feeling of wine drying your mouth out comes from its tannins, which are natural compounds. Red wine tends to be much more tannic than white.
As far as tasting terms go, they're pretty straightforward: when someone refers to wine as grassy, they mean it's reminiscent of grass. When calling something acidic or tart, they mean that's sour. Buttery is a word for wine being rich and smooth on the palate like butter is, oaky implies a woody flavor, jammy means deep fruitiness, and floral implies a light flavor of flowers.
Now that you understand some basic terminology, what wine should you choose to go with your meal? Don't feel constrained by what you learned years ago! Here are some guidelines and ideas for your dinner with wine pairings to try and put to the test:
Salmon goes great with red wine, such as Pinot Noir. Because salmon is a flavorful, heavy fish, it can stand up to a lighter red wine such as Pinot. This same concept is true for other fatty or strongly flavored fish, such as mackerel.
Roasted autumn veggies dressed with vinaigrette benefit from an acidic wine like Sauvignon Blanc. It may sound counter-intuitive that an acidic dressing would work with an acidic wine, but they work well together! A sweet or mild wine could get lost on your palate when eating a vinegary salad.
The sweetness of Zinfandel complements the richness of beef stews and other slow-cooked dishes. Similar to how acidic wines pair well with vinaigrette, jammier and heavier wines can go nicely with rich entrées. In this season of slow cooking, a heartier wine can be more comforting and enjoyable than a lighter, more acidic one.
Fried foods benefit from sparkling wine. The bubbles help lighten the fried item’s heaviness and give the sensation of clearing fattiness off your palate.
Indian food and Rosé might sound like one of the strangest marriages ever, but Rosé’s slight sweetness and acidity can complement Indian food’s spice. Choose a flavorful pink or orange wine for it to best stand up to Indian spices.
More Meal Ideas for Dinners with Wine Pairings
We’ve touched on some general meal ideas, but let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and take a look at four delicious recipes for dinner (with wine pairings too)!
Blue Cheese Burger with Cabernet Sauvignon
Is Cabernet Sauvignon one of the go-to red wine varieties you like to drink? It’s usually medium- to full-bodied and fruit-forward with an easy-to-drink level of tannins that make it a popular dinnertime wine. What does it pair well with? Heartier meats like beef and aromatic cheeses, such as blue cheese, taste great with this type of wine. And that’s precisely why we’re suggesting this Blue Cheese Burger!
Topped with a creamy blue cheese sauce and crispy onions, this burger is cheesy and tangy with a slight crunch. Serve with fries or oven-roasted potatoes, along with your favorite brand of Cabernet Sauvignon (like Artie).
Red Wine Pot Roast with Bordeaux
Love a light- to medium-bodied French-style Bordeaux, like Chateau La Commande? Just like Cabernet Sauvignon, this red wine pairs well with beef, as well as potatoes - two things you’ll find in our Red Wine Pot Roast recipe. You can even use Bourdeaux wine in the recipe if you would like to!
Cooked slowly on the stove, this beef dish is tender and juicy. And with ingredients like beef broth, carrots and rosemary, it’s also savory and flavorful. Get the full list of ingredients and step-by-step directions on our recipe portal.
Want to add some more veggies to this recipe? Try some mushrooms and onions, or even some parsnips (a tasty, slightly sweet root vegetable) for a little twist.
Prefer a glass of white wine instead? How about Sauvignon Blanc? If so, then we have the perfect dinner recipe for you to try - our One-Pan Creamy Garlic & Herb Chicken. And besides being the ideal accompaniment for your favorite bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, such as Clearwater Cove, it’s also quick and easy to make as well. So, it’s a great recipe to make during a busy week.
In fact, it only takes five simple steps and 20 minutes total to make. Serve with a side of rice or mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and garlic bread for a complete meal.
Want the full recipe? You can find it here!
Our last idea for dinner with a wine pairing highlights Chardonnay. So, if you love the richness of this full-bodied white wine, we have a delicious salmon dish you may want to make for your next evening meal. After all, Chardonnay and salmon are a tasty match.
To make this dinner recipe, you’ll only need five ingredients total. That’s it!
- Salmon filets
- Lemon juice
And once you have all of your ingredients prepped and ready, our Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon recipe cooks in just 10 minutes. That way, you can have dinner on the table in a jiffy. Serve with fresh steamed veggies and rice for a wholesome dinner.
Now that you're equipped with all the knowledge you need to grab a great bottle of wine along with your dinner ingredients, your evening is bound to be enjoyable. Cheers!