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Reams and reams of writing have been produced on matching wine and food. Entire books in fact – some of them rather excellent* – have been published on the subject. But in my experience you can boil the ‘facts’ down to five simple rules -

  1. Regionality Rules – if a dish comes from a specific region or country then it is highly likely the local wines will turn out to be perfect accompaniments.
  2. Match Light with Light – and consequently heavier foods with heavier wines. You don’t want the wine you are drinking to be overwhelmed by the wine and vice versa.
  3. Match Sweet with Sweeter – a dessert that is sweeter than the wine can make it taste nastily sharp. Select a wine sweeter than the dessert.
  4. It’s All In The Sauce – if you are struggling to find a wine look to the sauce. How many times have you seen a rear label proclaim ‘good with chicken’? The differences between a spicy chicken curry and a coq au vin are immense.
  5. What Else We Got? Full flavoured chutneys or salsas can all affect the taste of the wine, you might need to trade up in the body stakes to cope.
  6. * One such recently published book published at the end of last year I am enjoying immensely; review post to come.


  1. Trig says:

    It’s not something I know much about, so it’s good to see the pretentious stuff stripped away and a set of basis rules. Didn’t there use to be a sixth rule: “Match colour with colour” i.e. fish/white, red meat/red? I see that challenged more and more these days.

  2. Cru Master says:

    I guess with the likes of red chardonnay appearing – it might be tricky to match colour with colour!

  3. Marcus says:

    I was stuck by everyblogger getting on the bandwagon for that pairing book and gave it a critical look.
    I kind of feel this book is akin to the “men bossing people into wine selections” story that is out today. Not that this book is bossy per se, but the pedantry! It’s just so much ado about nothing. It’s as unattractive at the dinner table as those kind of men.

  4. MMMmmm, Andrew. Interesting points.
    1. Regionality Rules -
    IMHO this made sense before they invented the wheel. But now why limit yourself to local products (global warming issues aside)? German cars are fine on UK roads.
    I make wines with a good level of natural acidity – pH 3.0 > 3.2 – in Spain to be refreshing With Indian food eaten in the UK. Indian wines have to have acidiy enhanced because of the climate there. I prefer low acid wines with acidic tOmatoey Italian food.
    2. Match Light with Light -
    I’m for Yin and Yang. A loud (plain) shirt with a plain (loud) tie I suggest.
    3. Match Sweet with Sweeter
    Again Yin and Yang. I’m for contrast and balance.
    A high acidity Cava or Champagne is great and balancing with a pudding.
    4. It’s All In The Sauce …The differences between a spicy chicken curry and a coq au vin are immense.
    makes sense.
    5. Full flavoured chutneys or salsas can all affect the taste of the wine, you might need to trade up in the body stakes to cope.
    or down to get contrast, refreshment?
    lots of endless debate here ….
    Warren Edwardes
    Wine for Spice

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