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The Perfect Match
By Rebecca Giantonio

Intro | Balance | Cheese Please | Party! | The Set Up

A delicate balance
When the right wine and food are paired, both taste so much better. Generally, whites taste best with fish and chicken, while reds match the stronger taste of beef and lamb. But that doesn't mean that red wine lovers must choke down whites with certain meals. Texture plays a big role too. Full-bodied wines have a mouth-filling texture and rich flavors, so they pair best with strong foods. A full white like Chardonnay will go just as well with a steak or duck as a Merlot. Sound confusing? These basic guidelines will ensure you make the right choice when planning a meal.

Light whites
Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling

  • These go best with simple fish, like sole and flounder, and seafood, such as scallops and clams.

Stronger whites
Chardonnay, Pouilly-Fume

Lighter reds
Chianti, Pinot Noir, Bardolino

  • Pair these with stronger-flavored fish, like salmon, tuna, lobster and swordfish. Meat-lovers can try these with chicken, sirloin, or veal.

Stronger reds
Burgundy , Bordeaux , Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz , Pinot Noir, Zinfandel

  • Flavorful reds complement game birds, pork chops, lamb and steak.

Also keep in mind that sauces play a large role in complementing wines. A bold sauce can overpower a light wine. A simple grilled chicken dish with a spicy, creamy, or cheese sauce will taste better with a fuller white or lighter red, just as clams with a tomato-based sauce call for a light-bodied red.

Want a wine for all occasions? Most champagne and sparkling and blush wines go with anything. Rieslings, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chianti, Pinot Noir and Merlot also pair well with many foods.

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