Pairing Meat and Wine

grilled-meat-red-wine-still-life-glass-38080645Choosing the perfect wine to complement your main dish can make the meal that much more enjoyable. Pairings of wine and meat can depend on what sauces are being used or how lean the cut is. A little confused as to which wines to pair with your meal?

Here is a look at what kinds of wine go best with meats from poultry to pork!


  • Chicken or turkey is best paired with white wine, such as Sauvingnon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir.
  • Quail pairs nicely with Chardonnay. Depending on the stuffing or sauce, Pinot Noir or Merlot also work well.
  • Duck goes well with medium bodied red wines like Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, or Malbec.
  • Steak pairs well with red wine such as a California Cabernet Sauvignon. A roast works well with robust reds such as red Bordeaux or a California Cabernet Sauvignon. Beef based stews pair well with rich wine, such as a California Pinot Noir or Zinfandel, or a Spanish Rioja.
  • When pairing wine for leaner cuts, light or medium-bodied red wines with a slightly higher acidity will cut through the texture of lean meat. For example, medium red such as Sangiovese would work.
  • Fatty meats work with bold red wines that have high tannin, which works as a palate cleanser. Examples of bold red wines are Barolo or Napa Cabernet.
  • Venison can be gamey and lean but is also rich. Try a medium-bodied red wine such as California Cabernet Sauvignon or a cru c lassĂ© French Bordeaux.
  • Lamb is more delicate in flavor than most beef, making lighter, delicately flavored wines work best. Wines that go well with lamb are Spanish Rioja, California Zinfandel, and Merlot.
  • Pork pairs well with a low-tannin red or white wine with some fruit and acidity to match the flavor. A fruity California Merlot works with baked ham, while a Grenache-based red from France works with dried ham. A roast pork pairs well with a California Pinot Noir, or a red Burgundy from France.

When in doubt, a good Sauvignon Blanc goes with most light meals while Pinot Noir goes well with a lot of red meat dishes, as well as chicken and salmon dishes.