Wine and food have complemented each other for thousands of years. Wine comes into its own at the dinner table thanks to its moderate alcohol, refreshing acidity, and sheer range of flavours. It is worth knowing some successful pairings of food and wine that have stood the test of time.
Bear in mind the best order for serving wine when choosing your starter – white before red, dry before sweet, lighter-before fuller-bodied, and in ascending order of quality. If the choice of menu requires a full-bodied red for the starter, avoid serving a dish that needs a light white for the main.
Sauvignon Blanc. If served in a creamy sauce, a fuller-bodied wine such as Semillon.
A Sauternes-style botrytized wine, although serving a sweet wine this early in the meal could present problems later. Champagne and Gewürztraminer also work.
Relatively neutral, dry whites.
Pâtés and terrines
A wine that works with the main ingredient in its cooked form (see).
Salad (no dressing)
Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and unoaked Chardonnay are good options.
Salad (with creamy dressing)
Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc.
Salad (with vinaigrette)
A wine with high acidity like Sauvignon Blanc, or dry Riesling.
Medium-bodied Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc.
Soup (chunky, meaty)
Inexpensive reds (Merlot or Cabernet-Merlot blends).
Soup (creamy and fishy)
Fuller-flavoured Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley Chardonnays work well, as can light rosés.