Red Wine Pairing for a Better Dining Experience

If you do not know the first thing about pairing food with red wine, I am here to help you today. Whether you are preparing for a dinner party with friends or a romantic dinner with your partner, your meal can be greatly enhanced by choosing a wine that goes well with what is on your plate. In this article I will be discussing red wine pairing with a range of dinner options. Forget the worries of staining your teeth with red wine as you can always use teeth whitening strips to take care of that issue. Find some reviews here. Simply enjoy the pleasant dining experience of pairing red wines and the foods they dance with on your tongue.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir, the name deriving from the French words for pine and black, is made from grapes that are very difficult to grow. It was born in the Burgundy region of France with flavors of ripe red berries, sweet black cherries, mushrooms and forest floor. Pinot Noir pairs well with a wide range of food from salmon to game birds to light meats, which makes it a versatile choice for dining.

I would recommend sautéed duck breasts with wild mushrooms served with spanish rice and grilled pepper salad. You can even pour some of the pinot into the pan as you’re cooking the breasts. Get the recipe for duck breasts with mushrooms here.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a personal favorite of mine for cooking with. It is one of the world’s most recognized red wine grape variety. The grape is easy to cultivate which is one reason for it’s popularity. It’s flavor profile is full-bodied with high tannins and acidity which gives it it’s ability to age well. When grown in cooler climates, the wine tends to have notes of black currant accompanied by green bell pepper, mint and cedar. As the wine ages, these flavors become more pronounced.  In moderate climates the black currant notes are accompanied by black cherry and black olive. In hotter climates the flavors are described as being over-ripe.

Cab Sauv goes well with lamb and beef dishes. I recommend this American roast beef dish served with braised red cabbage and mashed potato.


The Gamay grape is a purple-grape variety and is fermented in a closed container without oxygen. It produces wine that is light-bodied and fruity with floral notes of lilac and violets. Grown in the Beaujolais region, this grape will produce wines with a flavor profile of sour cherries, black pepper, and dried berry, as well as fresh-cut stone and chalk. It pairs well with light chicken dishes, pork sausages, cheese, charcuterie, etc.

This wine is perfect if you plan on having  a summer BBQ. Grill up some veggies as a side to some spicy sausages. Try this grilled spicy sausage patty recipe.


Merlot is made from a dark blue grape variety and is one of the most popular red wine varietal in many markets. There tends to be 2 main styles of Merlot:

  • International style – harvested late to gain ripeness and produce a wine that is full-bodied with high alcohol and velvety tannins.
  • Bordeaux style – harvested earlier to maintain acidity and produce medium bodied wine with moderate alcohol levels.

It has characteristics of black cherry, raspberry, plum, graphite, tobacco, cedar, vanilla, clove and mocha. Merlot can be paired with light meats or lightly-spiced dark meats. Do not pair with fish or leafy-green vegetables. I recommend skillet rosemary chicken.


Shiraz is a red wine produced using dark-skinned grapes grown throughout the world. The flavor profile of shiraz tends to be medium-full bodied, with flavors of blackberry, mint, chocolate, espresso and black pepper. Shiraz is also versatile when it comes to pairing, going well with dark meats, roast duck, venison and spicy, peppery dishes. Try it with this chili recipe.

Most of these wines are versatile and will go well with many dishes but the dinner ideas suggested are a great place to start and are sure to please your guests’ palettes. Wine pairing is fun and enhances your dining experience, so try out these suggestions and see what you think.

Why not make it a wine tasting?