25th February, 2023

The Best Red Wine Food Pairings To Try In 2023

Red Wine Food Pairings
The Best Red Wine Food Pairings To Try In 2023-cover

Did you know that red wine is officially the most popular kind of wine in America? According to a recent survey, it's the type that nearly 70% of all wine-drinking adults reach for when it's time to unwind.

While a decadent Cabernet Sauvignon or a rich Merlot is delicious when enjoyed on its own, it can also elevate a meal in an instant.

Whether you're planning a family feast or a meal for one, it helps to know which red wine food pairings to try.

Today, we're sharing some of our favorite combinations, from the sweet to the savory and everything in between.

Cab Sauv and Charcuteries

A few years ago, most of us wouldn't have considered cheese a full and balanced meal. However, that was before the meteoric rise of the charcuterie board.

Now, no one will bat an eye if your main course consists of a spread containing different varieties of cheeses, along with artistically arranged meats, crackers, olives, and other nibbles.

Designed to accommodate a floating dinner party, these platters are often as visually stunning as they are delicious. They also serve as the ideal backdrop for a bottle of your preferred red wine.

While white wine typically pairs best with milder varieties of cheese, don't be afraid to go with a dramatic red, especially if you're serving a heavy, bold cheese like aged gouda or a semi-hard sheep's milk variety.

When it's time to graze, break out the board, arrange your snacks, and reach for a Cab Sauv like our Mount Veeder Winery Napa Cabernet. Full-bodied and filled with rich tannins, its primary flavors are blue fruit and walnuts. This complements the variety of your charcuterie perfectly, offering a unique blend of nutty sweetness.

Chianti and Pasta

The high acidity in Chianti is what gives it that trademark zing when you take a sip. You might be tempted to balance this tartness with a more mild meal, but an equally acidic entree actually enhances the flavor!

Try pairing a glass of Ruffino Chianti Superiore 2020 with a simple bowl of pasta in tomato sauce. This Chianit has signature hints of cherries, violets, vanilla, and clove, which give it a well-balanced structure and elegant finish. Season your sauce with fresh herbs like parsley and oregano, and it will complement the wine perfectly.

Other great entrees to serve alongside Chianti include robust meats, such as steak and veal. This is a sturdy vino that can hold its own against even the most pronounced flavors, so have fun experimenting with this one!

Merlot and Roasted Chicken

Have you perfected Ina Garten's mouth-watering roast chicken recipe? When you're ready to show off your culinary prowess, nothing tastes better with this juicy, flavorful dish than a bottle of your favorite Merlot.

Containing fewer bitter tannins than a Cab Sauv, the bold and spicy taste of Merlot will bring out the flavors of the savory chicken, especially if you stuffed yours with zesty garlic, thyme, and lemon as Ina told you to.

Merlot features subtle hints of black cherry that balance those more pungent flavors, adding just the right amount of sweetness. When you're ready to pour a glass and slice into your dish, we recommend a smooth and balanced blend, like the Horse Heaven Hills H3 Merlot!

This wine offers a blend of complex flavors including plum, blackberry, and spice, as well as earthy hints of cocoa. It's the flavorful, bright contrast to your herby chicken dish.

Malbec and Vegetable Stew

Any time you're cooking up a batch of roasted veggie soup or a hearty stew like ratatouille, reach for a bottle of Malbec to go with it.

Featuring distinct aromas of plum, tobacco, violets, and blackberries, Malbec is the perfect companion to tomato-heavy, savory dishes. Its natural acidity shines when combined with equally acidic veggies such as zucchini, peppers, and onions.

At the same time, it also goes well with a variety of gamey meats, including duck and lamb. The next time you have duck tacos on the menu, go ahead and order a bottle of our Mendel Mendoza Malbec to serve alongside it!

This medium-to-full-bodied wine delivers strong hints of wild berries, freshly-picked violets, and sweet spices. There are also notes of cocoa-dusted walnuts to round out the sweet, fruity flavor.

Pinot Noir and Portabellos

Portabello mushrooms are the Houdinis of the culinary world. They blend into the background and gorgeously complement an array of entrees, from hearty steaks to tangy grilled shrimp.

Yet, when stuffed and properly prepared, they can also stand on their own. For instance, filling a hefty portabello with sauteed spinach and cheese transforms this go-to side dish into a meal in itself!

When it comes to food pairings, arguably no drink goes better with the earthy flavor of mushrooms than Pinot Noir. The herb-forward, woodsy tastes mimic one another, enhancing the flavor profile of each dish.

While any red wine will taste great with your dish, why not try our Meiomi California Pinot Noir? This blend features bright notes of strawberries and jammy fruit alongside the more traditional mocha and oak notes.

Syrah and Pork Tenderloin

Heralded as the other white meat, pork can be as versatile as it is lean and delicious. While a simple pork tenderloin might not be immensely flavorful on its own, you can easily enhance it with a delicious dry rub.

Try a homemade one consisting of garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and coriander. These herbs add a degree of richness and depth to the pork that transforms its flavor and turns it into a show-stopping main course.

While you're at it, pour a glass of Syrah, too. This red wine is perfectly fruity and bold, and scrumptiously balances the simplicity of the meat. Our Falcone Paso Robles Syrah is a great pick, featuring aromas of cassis, blueberry jam, and black plum along with layers of roasted meat and savory herbs!

Sangiovese and Pizza

It's no secret that Italy and wine go hand in hand. Arguably nowhere is this more apparent than in the absolutely impeccable pairing of Sangiovese and pizza.

Whether you prefer your pie topped with fruit, veggies, or all the meats, you can't go wrong when you reach for a bottle of this versatile, medium-bodied wine.

Featuring medium-to-high tannins, Sangiovese tends to contain a higher alcohol content than some other wines. It also features a mouth-watering acidity that you'll recognize on the first sip.

When pizza night is on the menu, dial up your favorite delivery spot and grab a glass. Then, fill it with Di Majo Norante Sangiovese for a complete, balanced meal. Filled with the flavors of fresh and dried fruits, it also contains layers of woodsier leather and anise, making it the perfect complement.

Grenache and Chocolate Cake

Wine and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Not only are they both considered to be aphrodisiacs, but they also contain a special type of antioxidant called flavanols. This is why a rich chocolate dessert must accompany every dinner!

While you can always pair your decadent chocolate desserts with a familiar red wine, such as Syrah or Cabernet, those are far from your only options. Have you ever considered serving your sweets with a glass of Grenache instead?

This powerful grape variety highlights the intensity of dark chocolate with ease. As a full-bodied wine, a Grenache like Domaine Lafage Cuvee Nicolas Cotes Catalanes can hold its own against even the highest concentrations of cacao.

If you're serving a milder type of chocolate, such as milk or white chocolate, then a sweeter wine is preferable. In that case, the berry-rich flavors of Pinot Noir make it a great choice.

Barbera and Meatloaf

One of the most versatile and underrated reds around, Barbera is a great wine to pair with any meat dish. However, it really shines with fattier, less expensive cuts of meat, such as hangar steak.

This wine is relatively low in tannins but high in acidity, which also allows it to complement tomato-rich dishes such as stews and spaghetti. While you can find it a few different regional styles, one of the most popular is Italian Barbera. Featuring notes of cherries, raspberries, and plums, this wine is light and fruity.

One example is our Pico Maccario Lavignone Barbera d'Asti, which also includes earthy undertones that pair well with a variety of cheese and poultry dishes!

Shiraz and Grilled Steak

Are you looking for a red wine that goes beautifully with a cut of steak that has a pronounced degree of fat, like a ribeye? If so, look no further than your favorite bottle of Shiraz.

This type of marbled meat needs a hearty, robust wine that will balance its flavor without making it too heavy, and Shiraz is perfect. Interchangeable with Syrah, this type of wine makes the ideal steak pairing because it has soft tannins, moderate acidity, and a distinct fruity flavor.

Of course, those flavors can vary quite a bit based on the temperature at which the grapes are grown. In moderate climates, Shiraz wines tend to be more peppery and rich, with a higher acidity and tannin level. This tartness mellows out in higher temperatures, and the hottest regions (like Crete) produce Shirazes that are softer and milder in taste and aroma.

Our Tokara Stellenbosch Shiraz is a natural complement to any backyard cookout. Featuring notes of berries, sour cherries, and wild herbs, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Zinfandel and Roasted Venison

Significantly leaner than most cuts of meat, venison also has a fine texture that pairs smoothly with elegant red wines. Zinfandels are a classic choice, as are Barolos, Red Burgundies, and mature Bordeaux wines.

We chose Zinfandel here because it features bright and bold fruit flavors that offset the venison. Often described as jammy, this wine can also contain warm notes of pepper, spices, and smoky tobacco.

In addition to venison, Zinfandel also goes well with other cuts of meat, including pork barbecue and turkey. If you're in need of a bottle, check out Rombauer California Zinfandel.

Not only is this deep purple/red wine gorgeous to look at, but it also tastes perfect alongside venison steak or stew. The raspberry and cranberry aromas melt into hints of licorice and spice, delivering just the right amount of bite.

Tempranillo and Roasted Veggies

As the weather starts to warm up, many of us are thinking about our summer gardens. Whether you grow your own veggies or buy them at the store, it helps to know a few go-to ways to prepare them.

One of the easiest ways is to simply roast them in the oven! Follow this quick guide to get started, and then keep planning the rest of your menu from there.

Whether you're serving up zucchini, carrots, potatoes, or peppers, you can always count on a glass of Tempranillo to finish off the course. This juicy, bright-red wine helps lighten up the earthy flavors of the veggies and also provides a much-needed kick of acidity.

Our Siglo Saco Rioja Crianza Tempranillo makes the perfect companion, featuring fruity blackberry notes alongside richer hints of cedar and smoke.

Try These Red Wine Food Pairings Tonight

The complex world of wine can be fascinating, but also intimidating. If you know the right kinds of wine to serve with each meal, it becomes a little more accessible!

These are a few red wine food pairings to try. As you sample more varieties, you'll find a few favorites you want to return to often. From stews and steaks to fruits and sweets, there's a red for everything!

To get started, check out our full collection of red wine online. Then, visit us in person or ship your bottles right to your doorstep! Either way, we've got dinner covered.

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