Finding the perfect wine to enjoy with your meal can range from an all-out ordeal to a matter of blind chance. With the vast array of wine and food choices, the combinations are seemingly endless.
However, some wines complement a wider variety of foods than others. Committing these top 10 food-friendly wines to memory (or at least making a list to keep handy) can help ease the uncertainty when faced with a wine list at a restaurant or picking up a bottle to go with dinner at home.
Dry rose deserves recognition for its versatility. This style matches effortlessly with salads or mildly spiced dishes, and makes an all-around safe pick for almost any light spring or summer menu.
- 2010 Presqu’ile Winery Dry Rose, California (about $21 retail)
- 2010 Domaine Serene Dry Rose, Oregon (about $34 retail)
“Naked” chardonnay is more approachable than its overbearing, extremely oaky cousins that can overwhelm even the most robust dishes. Unoaked chardonnay pairs well with lighter foods such as chicken, salmon and some pork dishes.
- 2011 Simply Naked Unoaked Chardonnay, California (about $10 retail)
- 2010 Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay, California (about $40 retail)
Light-bodied whites such as sauvignon blanc, semillon, Riesling, pinot blanc and pinot grigio are safe bets with almost any salad or vegetarian dish. They also pair well with fish, chicken, pork and pasta. Pinot grigio’s easy drinking style and light body make it an ideal starter wine, but it can carry an entire meal too.
- 2011 Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $10 retail)
- 2010 Trimbach Pinot Blanc, France (about $20 retail)
- 2010 King Estates Acrobat Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $16 retail)
- 2011 Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (about $24 retail)
Albarino is a sure bet with almost any fish dish. This luscious dry white Spanish wine also works well with rice and pasta dishes.
- 2011 Martin Codax Albarino, Spain (about $19 retail)
- 2011 Mar de Frades Albarino, Spain (about $28 retail)
Merlot is the red wine known for not only its crowd-pleasing fruity style but also its ease when matched with a wide range of foods. It is a safe bet for dishes with more body, spice and weight.
- 2010 Michel Lynch Merlot, France (about $12 retail)
- 2009 Rutherford Ranch Merlot, California (about $20 retail)
The light fruity style of pinot noir is a sound choice for lighter meats, pastas and fish.
- 2009 Mirassou Pinot Noir, California (about $12 retail)
- 2009 Ponzi Vineyards Tavola Pinot Noir, California (about $27 retail)