White Wine Pairing Tips

Wine has a rich history. Wine is very complex and there's a reason people take it very seriously. The types, styles, flavors and even where they come from are just astounding. In this article I highlight the best pairings for white wine.

White wine can come in all different shades of gold, yellow or straw. Some are oaky, sweet, dry or even fruity. One thing to keep in mind is white wine is just as complex as red. The different types of white wine are:

  • Chardonnay
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Gruner Veltliner
  • Kerner
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc

When you think about pairing white wine with a food, you must take into account not only the type of food, but the texture and color.

A good rule of thumb is white wine goes well with delicate types of fish such as Sole, Catfish, Trout, and Salmon.

This is not an absolute rule, because certain red wines can go with less delicate fish. A nice light red wine could go with Salmon or even halibut due to their characteristics in texture, color and taste. You can pair a heavier wine with a more hearty fish. The key is to compliment, not to overpower it.

White wine can also go great with chicken, frogs legs, quail, duck, and other delicate poultry. You want to stay away from beef and lamb, but white wines go great with thinner cuts of veal, due to its delicate nature and texture. Balancing the flavors is key.

The best way to learn how to do this is to first try a selection of wines before you pair them with food. You must know what the wines by themselves taste like before you can know what to pair them with. Also there is a degree of personal preference as well. Everyone’s pallet is different and some may prefer sweet white wine to the dry oaky aged taste of a Chardonnay for example.

When pairing a white wine with a sauce, you want to make sure that the wine does not give the sauce a wine like taste if it is not a wine sauce!

Another critical suggestion is NEVER cook with a wine you cannot drink by itself. Because during the cooking process the wine concentrates in flavor you must have a wine that is pleasant to drink.

Getting to know wine is actually easy. Going to wine tastings is a great way to sample a little of everything!

A final rule, of course, is to always keep your wine at the right temperature. Try an under counter wine fridge to see if that meets your needs.