Let’s say you’re on one of those Sedona hiking tours, or you’re planning a few Arizona winery tours, and you’re planning to get lunch at one of our wineries in the town, but you’re not quite sure what wines to choose to pair with your lunch. We can help.
When the flavors and textures of the wine complement, contrast, or cut through the flavors and textures of the meal, you have a great wine pairing. Your ideal wine pairing complements the flavors of both the food and the wine you’re eating, and that’s how you get a harmonic and wonderful experience.
As a rule of thumb, you want to match the wine’s weight and intensity with the meal’s weight and intensity, as well as examine the wine’s acidity, tannins, and sweetness concerning the tastes of the food for wine pairings. You can also successfully pair wine with food with similar flavor profiles, such as a rich red wine with a meaty beef dish.
Here are five types of wines and their ideal pairings you can try on your next set of Arizona winery tours.
Red Wine Pairings
Red wine is a versatile wine that pairs well with many different foods, but it’s particularly well-suited to rich, hearty, and flavorful dishes. Some foods that pair well with red wine include:
Beef, Lamb, Pork, and Game Meats
These meats have rich, bold flavors that pair well with full-bodied red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah/Shiraz.
That drying sort of rubbery sensation you feel on your tongue after sipping wine because of a substance we call tannins. The saltiness and sharpness of hard cheeses like parmesan, cheddar, and gouda can balance the tannins in red wine, making your tongue feel less rubbery and dry.
The acidity in tomatoes can complement the acidity in red wines like Pinot Noir, Chianti, and Sangiovese.
The bitterness and richness of dark chocolate can balance the tannins in red wines like Port and red dessert wines like Banyuls.
The tannins and alcohol in red wines tend to cool the heat in spicy foods, making them an excellent pairing for spicy dishes such as chili, curry, and Cajun cuisine (Pro tip: try them at Chocolatree).
White Wine Pairings
White wine is versatile and pairs well with a wide variety of foods, but it usually pairs best with lighter, fresher, and more delicate dishes. Here are some of the foods that pair well with white wine.
Fish and shellfish have delicate flavors that pair well with light-bodied and acidic white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
Chicken and Pork
White meats like chicken and pork have milder flavors that pair well with medium-bodied white wines such as Pinot Grigio, Viognier, and Marsanne.
The creaminess of soft cheeses like brie, camembert, and goat cheese can complement the acidity and fruitiness of white wines.
Salads and Green Vegetables
The acidity and mineral notes in white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Sancerre can complement the flavors of salads and green vegetables like arugula, asparagus, and green beans.
The sweetness and acidity in fruit dishes such as fruit tarts, fruit salads, and fruit sorbets can complement the sweetness and acidity in white wines such as Moscato and Riesling.
Rosé Wine Pairings
Rosé wine, also known as “blush” wine, is a versatile wine that pairs well with a wide variety of foods, but it is particularly well-suited to lighter, fresher, and more delicate dishes. Some foods that pair well with rosé wine also pair well with red and white wines (because Rosé is a combination of fermented green and red grapes – used in white and red wines) include:
On your next set of Sedona hiking tours, try rosé wines with your seafood dinners. The light-bodied and acidic rosé wines pair well with seafood. For example, a dry rosé such as Provence Rosé can pair well with raw oysters and ceviche.
Chicken and Pork
White meats like chicken and pork have milder flavors that pair well with medium-bodied rosé wines. For example, a fruity rosé such as Zinfandel Rosé can pair well with grilled chicken.
Salads and Green Vegetables
Rosé wines can complement the flavors of salads and green vegetables for the same reasons white wines pair well with them – their mineral notes and acidity.
Mexican and Mediterranean Cuisine
The acidity and fruitiness of rosé can balance the spiciness and heat of dishes like tacos, paella, and ratatouille.
The sweetness and acidity of rosé can complement the sweetness and acidity of desserts such as fruit tarts, sorbets, and salads.
Sparkling Wine Pairings
Sparkling wine, such as Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava, is a versatile wine that pairs well with a wide variety of foods, but it is particularly well-suited to light, fresh, and acidic dishes. Some foods that pair well with sparkling wine include:
In the same ways that seafood’s delicate flavors pair well with white and rosé wines, the acidity and bubbles in sparkling wine complement each other. For example, oysters and sushi are a classic pairing with Champagne.
Fried and Salty Foods
The acidity and bubbles in sparkling wine can cut through the richness and saltiness of fried foods such as fried chicken, french fries, and tempura.
The acidity and bubbles in sparkling wine can complement the creaminess and saltiness of cheese such as blue cheese, brie, and camembert.
Fruit and Fruit-Based Desserts
The acidity and bubbles in sparkling wine can complement the sweetness and acidity of the fruit and fruit-based desserts because green grapes are in both white and sparkling wines, so they have a similar composition and pair well with the same foods.
Salty and Savory Snacks
The acidity and bubbles in sparkling wine can complement the saltiness and savoriness of snacks such as nuts, popcorn, and chips.
Fortified Wine Parings
Fortified wines, such as Sherry, Port, and Madeira, have had a distilled spirit – usually brandy – added to them to increase their alcohol content and alter their flavor profile. They pair well with various foods but are particularly well-suited to more decadent, more flavorful dishes. Some foods that pair well with fortified wines include:
The sweetness and nuttiness of fortified wines like Sherry pair well with the saltiness of strong cheeses such as blue cheese and cheddar.
The sweetness and complexity of fortified wines like Port and Madeira can complement the sweetness of desserts such as chocolate cakes, fruit pies, and tarts.
The sweetness and nuttiness of fortified wines like Sherry can complement the flavors of meats such as ham, pork, and game meats, similar to red wines.
Nuts and Dried Fruits
The sweetness and nuttiness of fortified wines like Sherry can complement the flavors of nuts and dried fruits such as almonds, walnuts, and raisins.
The sweetness and alcohol in fortified wines like Port can cool the heat of the same spicy dishes that red wines tend to cool. It is because Fortified wines are red wines with brandy in them!
Experiment with Your Pairings!
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wine pairings. Our wine pairing suggestions are just general guidelines we follow because people enjoy them time and again. Still, the ultimate pairing decision is up to you and your taste preferences. Experimenting with different pairings is a great way to discover new and exciting flavor combinations. So, feel free to try something outside our recommendations when dining at Chocolatree or on one of our Arizona winery tours!
You’ll probably notice that (just like in this article) different wines can pair well the some of the same foods. Step outside the box and tell us what you enjoy when you see us on one of your next Sedona hiking tours.
Still trying to figure out where to start? At Wine Tours of Sedona, we offer private tours that showcase Arizona’s true beauty, and we’re more than happy to help you plan your next set of Sedona hiking tours.