Learning How to Pair Wine & Meat

Our wine pairing series continues! We started with Wine and Cheese Pairing 101 and Wine and Cheese Pairing for Intermediates, and then moved on to the Truth About Wine and Chocolate. Today, we’re switching from sweet back to savory as we explore wine and meat pairing.

Tracy Sellers of the California Bountiful blog reminds us that wine and food pairing is about creating harmonious relationships that bring out the best elements in one another. As executive chef Michael Tuohy told Sellers, “A good match will bring out the nuances and enhance the flavors and unique characters of both the food and the wine.”

There is an old rule that red meat should always be paired with red wine and white meat should always be paired with white wines. But as most sommeliers will confirm, sticking to this type of rule can result in missed opportunities to enjoy truly heavenly combinations. As Master Sommelier Larry Stone says, even the slightest pinch of salt above what a recipe calls for can completely change a dish and, in turn, the wine that it will best pair with.

The best approach when learning how to pair wine with meat is to keep an open mind and try to test your palette and pay attention to the subtleties. Take cues from the sauces, seasonings, spices and other flavors to decide which red or white wine will bring out the juiciness of the meat or the flavors it’s cooked with. Here are a few of our favorite tips from the Food & Wine editors to get you started.


  • Meats and fish prepared with rich sauces go great with Chardonnay.
  • Pair meats dressed in a tangy or tart sauce with a Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Unoaked wines pair nicely with any dish that you can squeeze a lemon or lime on.
  • With lighter meats, focus on pairing the wine with the sauce.
  • Cabernet often enhances juicy red meats.

Practice your wine and meat pairing skills over a fun meal with friends. And to make it even easier to get the wine cork rolling, start with Hickory Farms gourmet food and wine boxes such as our Summer Sausage Trio, Fruit & Cheese Fest, Toast the Traditions box, or our Vineyards & Orchards package.

wine baskets

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