Preparing an amazing meal can be time-consuming. After all your work, your culinary masterpiece is ready to be served. What kind of beverage will you be serving beside it? If you ruin the meal with an improper wine pairing, you’ll have spent all that time for nothing. Choosing a wine that complements the meal is an art. Yet, it isn’t always complicated. With these instructions, you’ll be selecting the best food and wine pairs possible.

White Wines

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc

Both of these are white, dry wines with medium acidity. They pair well with herb flavors, vegetables, and white meats. If you’re making chicken, turkey, or a light fish dish, these are wines for you to consider. Chardonnay pairs best with soft cheeses, while Sauvignon Blanc pairs with both soft and hard kinds of cheeses. Many think that Chardonnay pairs well with pasta with rich cream sauces and a side of fresh bread. Sandwiches and starches in general work too.

Pinot Grigio and Riesling

Both of these white wines can be dry or sweet. Pinot Grigio is a popular pair with fish. Many argue that this is the best meat you can couple it with. The next best meat pair is chicken. The wine complements mild flavors, like mild cheeses or less powerful vegetables. Riesling, by contrast, is a high acidity wine that pairs best with cured meats, pork, and duck. Chicken and shrimp also pair nicely. Riesling can be a great companion to stronger spices like pepper, ginger, and allspice. Roasted vegetables, sweets, and cheeses work well too!

Red Wines

Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon

Merlot is a medium acidity, red wine that pairs well with many foods. Yet, like Cabernet Sauvignon, the best meat pairs are hearty, red meats. Beef, pork, burgers, and ribs complement both of these wines. Neither pair exceptionally with vegetables, but if you are incorporating vegetables, consider roasted ones. Avoid leafy vegetables, if possible. If you have distinct spice flavors, like thyme and ginger, consider choosing Cabernet Sauvignon.

Malbec

As for meat, dark poultry meat and lean, red meats are what to pair with Malbec. Pork can be a great choice so long as it’s lean. Grilled pork chops might pair well, while fatty steaks won’t. If you’re thinking about pasta, consider lighter sauces. Tomatoes and Malbec can complement each other well. Cheeses with rich, distinct flavors work best. Consider bleu cheese or hard cheeses.

Pinot Noir

This medium-high acidity wine pairs great with fish. You don’t have to choose light, mellow flavors. You can choose seafood with strong tastes, like shrimp or lobster. Chicken can also be a great companion for this drink. While it pairs well with starches and pasta, try to avoid heavy pasta sauces. These will overwhelm the taste of the wine.

Syrah

There are many Syrah varieties. Generally speaking, Syrah might be a wine for you to consider during the summer. That’s because barbecued foods go well with Syrah. This includes grilled meats and vegetables. Lighter meats, like lamb or poultry, also work. Savory vegetables work better than leafy ones. Many people prefer not to pair this wine with fish, but aged cheeses are another story!

*Note: These pairing recommendations are merely suggestions. They are not absolute; there is always room for experimentation and individual preferences. If your preferences differ from those listed, tell us about your tips!

Sources: http://winefolly.com/, http://www.winery-sage.com/blog/, http://www.winemag.com/