The candles are lit, dinner’s hot in the oven, and you’re ready to crack open a bottle of wine — but which grape goes with what meal?
The general rule of thumb is that as the meat gets leaner, the wine should get lighter. Of course, the only opinion that truly matters is yours (and your dinner date’s!), and your personal preference reigns supreme.
Not a wine aficionado? No sweat. Ahead, we’ve rounded up a few go-to wine selections for your next meat-centric meal.
Chardonnay with Roast Chicken
For a classic roast chicken dinner, a rich, buttery white wine like chardonnay is a blissful match. Chardonnay generally adds an element of intrigue to poultry without completely overpowering the dish. Depending on how rich your dish is, a white Burgundy or even a sauvignon blanc can also be a perfect pairing.
Cabernet Sauvignon with Roasted Rack of Lamb
Have a family gathering in your future? A roasted rack of lamb is a holiday classic, and equally classic is its pairing with a cabernet sauvignon. Lamb is generally more delicate in flavor than most beef, and the deep, intense flavor of a cab is ideal — whether it’s for a crowd or an intimate dinner for two,
Zinfandel with Pork Chops
While pork is considered a relatively neutral meat, it’s certainly far from flavorless. Pork is incredibly versatile, and can usually be paired with either red or white wine — and that goes for pork chops, too. It all boils down to your preference and what else you’re serving up with your chops. You want a wine with enough acidity to stand up to the taste (especially if your sides include classic staples like savory mushrooms or potatoes) and a sweet, light zinfandel is up to the task.
Red Wine with Steak
A bold red wine with steak is an iconic pairing, and the possibilities are endless. More fatty cuts pair well with cabernets thanks to their high acidity levels; malbecs with a fruity flavor and bold scent would be well-suited to leaner cuts; and a heavy, robust syrah is a great match for a ribeye. But don’t overthink it too much — when it comes to red wine with steak, it’s hard to go wrong.
Without a doubt, a well-selected wine can elevate a meal to an entirely new level. Don’t be bashful! The best way to learn is to sip, sample, and savor various wine and meat pairings until you find a flavor combination that hits a high note. After all, the right wine is the one you love!