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7 Best Kinds of Wine to Pair with Dinner

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Having a glass of wine at the dinner table with your family can be a great way to bond and unwind. A bottle of wine shared among friends can facilitate conversation and set a warm, welcoming tone for any gathering. It can elevate any occasion, whether you’re toasting a loved one or just spending quality time with your family.

There is no reason why a glass or two of wine can’t be enjoyed as part of a family dinner as long as everyone is of legal drinking age and can drink responsibly. Pairing wine with dinner can enhance the flavors of both the food and the wine, creating a more enjoyable dining experience. When selecting a wine to accompany a meal, it’s crucial to think about the drink’s individual flavors as well as the meal’s flavors. It’s also important to pick a bottle of wine that suits your taste. Below are some general tips for pairing varieties of wine with the right choice of food.


1) Red Wine

Red wine goes well with many different dishes and is a common staple at social gatherings and family meals. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah are just some of the most well-liked red wine choices. Some dishes that go well with red wine are listed below.

  • Pairs well with beef, lamb, and venison.
  • A good match for pasta dishes with rich red sauces or meaty Bolognese.
  • Best to pair the pizza with a light, fruity red wine that won’t compete with the pizza’s flavor.
  • Goes well with cheese, especially aged cheeses like parmesan, gouda, and cheddar.


2) Hard Wine

Hard wine refers to a wine with high alcohol content, such as fortified wines like Port or Sherry, or high alcohol content red wines like Zinfandel, apple wine, or Cabernet Sauvignon. Here are some food pairing suggestions for hard wine below.

  • Pairs well with aged or strong cheeses such as blue cheese, sharp cheddar, or aged gouda.
  • Fortified wines like Port and Sherry are often paired with rich chocolate desserts, as their sweetness and complexity can balance the bitterness of dark chocolate.
  • Pairs well with grilled or smoked meats, particularly those with rich and bold flavors like steak, lamb, or pork.
  • Some high alcohol-content red wines can handle the heat of spicy foods, particularly those with a hint of sweetness, such as Zinfandel.
  • Pairs well with hearty, slow-cooked dishes like stews or braises, particularly those with rich and savory flavors.


3) White Wine

White wine is a great complement to lighter meals like fish, chicken, and salads. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling are some of the most well-liked white wine options.

  • Best for pairing with chicken or turkey dishes. The lightness of the wine helps to balance out the richness of the meat. Sauvignon Blanc particularly complements light foods, shellfish, fish, and chicken.
  • Pairs well with a variety of cheeses, especially soft or creamy cheeses such as brie, camembert, and goat cheese.
  • Goes well with lighter dishes such as salads.


4) Rosé

Rosé wine goes well with both delicate and hearty fare, whether it’s spicy or savory. It goes well with a wide variety of fish, chicken, salad, and savory or spicy dishes.

  • Pairs well with a variety of seafood, including shellfish, salmon, and sushi.
  • Great choice to pair with salads, particularly those with lighter dressings.
  • Pairs well with lighter meats such as chicken, pork, and turkey.
  • Helps balance out the heat of spicy foods, making it a great choice to pair with dishes such as Thai or Indian cuisine.


5) Sparkling Wine

It’s a common practice to toast with a bottle of sparkling wine on special occasions. It’s versatile enough to be consumed on its own or with other dishes. Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava are just a few examples of well-liked sparkling wine options. Some general guidelines for what to eat with sparkling wine are provided below.

  • The effervescence and acidity of the wine complement the delicate flavors of the seafood.
  • It can be a great accompaniment to a variety of appetizers. The bubbles in the wine help to cleanse the palate between bites.
  • It can also be paired with light salads such as a fruit salad or a mixed greens salad with vinaigrette dressing.
  • It can be a surprising and delightful pairing with fried foods.


6) Dessert Wine

Dessert wines are those that are sweet and go well with desserts of any kind. Port, Sherry, and Muscat are a few examples of well-liked wines. Some suggestions for dessert wine and food pairings are below.

  • Dessert wines like port and sherry pair exceptionally well with chocolate desserts. The sweetness and richness of the wine complement the chocolate and bring out its flavors.
  • Wines like Muscat and Riesling pair well with fruit-based desserts such as apple pie or peach cobbler. The fruity notes in the wine complement the dessert and create a harmonious pairing.
  • Creamy and rich desserts like cheesecake pair well with dessert wines such as late-harvest wines or Sauternes.
  • Dessert wines like Gewürztraminer pair well with spicy foods. The wine’s sweetness and floral notes complement the heat of the dish.


7) Ice Wine

Grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine produce a sweet dessert wine known as “ice wine.” Ice wine, with its high sugar content and intense flavors, is a great complement to both sweet and savory foods.

  • Often enjoyed as a dessert wine and pairs well with desserts like fruit tarts, crème brûlée, or cheesecake.
  • Foie Gras pairing is often enjoyed as an appetizer or starter course.
  • The bold and tangy flavor of blue cheese pairs well with the sweetness and acidity of ice wine.
  • Pairs well with fresh fruits, particularly those with an acidic flavor, such as berries, peaches, or citrus fruits.



Wine is a widely enjoyed alcoholic beverage that can be used to complement the flavors of a variety of foods. Next time you sit down for dinner with your family, you can make it more of an occasion by following these tips given above for picking the perfect wine for your dinner. It’s a simple and enjoyable way to enhance the meal and create lasting memories with your loved ones.


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