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Nothing is better at the end of the day than a pouring yourself a glass of wine with your dinner, but most guides for wine and food pairings assume you’re making Steak Diane or something equally as fancy and impossible.
Let’s be real. We work hard all day, so when we come home we want something easy — I make tacos or burgers if I’m cooking, or (more likely) I’m ordering pizza or Chinese takeout. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the right wine with my comfort foods. There are just a few rules you should abide by if you want to achieve the ultimate taste combo.
One thing to remember is to never eat food that’s sweeter than your wine. (Although I will admit I love to occasionally indulge on candy with my Moscato.) When you’re pairing wine with food, think about the strongest flavor in the dish. If you’re eating pizza, will the toppings overpower the tomato?
Let’s talk about reds: Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, and other light-bodied reds are perfect for foods that have an earthy flavor. Red meats are typically paired with wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’re drinking Rosé, aim for cheesy dishes. Malbec reds are delicious with barbecue sauces. Zinfandel can be described as rich, which pairs it great with other rich, meaty foods like ribs or chicken.
Onto the white wines: If you’re eating any sort of fish, grab a bottle of Chardonnay or another silky white wine, like Pinot Grigio. Champagne is great on its own, but dry sparkling wines also taste fantastic when paired with salty foods. Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with tangy foods. Sweeter wines like Moscato go great with fruity desserts, sweet dishes, spicy foods, and most cheeses. For Riesling lovers, drink it with foods that have lime or tomatillo to balance out the acidity.
Now that you have the basic rundown of wine and food pairings, here is a wine pairing chart to help you apply your new knowledge to the foods you actually eat.