To say that white wine pairs better with fish and that red wine pairs better with meat is to minimize the possibilities offered by wines. Although both conclusions are partly true, there are as many possible combinations between wine and gastronomy as there are diners and ingredients. In this post we are going to give some recommendations so that you can start food and wine pairing in the best possible way.

1) General tips on wine pairing:

Before talking about concrete examples, we want to share with you some common guidelines on wine pairing:

Do you know our wines?Visita con maridaje de vinos en Bodegas Valdelana (Elciego, Rioja Alavesa)

1a) The importance of balance in wine pairing:

In general, white wines are “lighter” than reds and that these “weigh” more the more mature they are. In other words, a young wine tends to be lighter than a reserve. Something similar happens with food: a salad does not fill as much as a pasta dish or a good piece of meat. Therefore, one of the recommendations for pairings is to try to balance the weight between the dish and the accompanying wine.


1b) Similar or opposite?

To pair meals with wines, we can find that they connect the best possible (taste, appearance, temperature …) or do exactly the opposite. For example, we can serve a sweet wine with dessert looking for those similarities or contrasting it. Have you ever tried how well chocolate combines with red wine?

Maridaje de vinos tintos con postres

1c) Maintain order:

It does not seem like a good idea to eat a very strong cheese before a mild one or an extremely spicy dish before a salad. Neither is starting a meal with a full-bodied wine and then moving on to a light wine. By doing it this way, the dishes and wines that come after the first one could turn out to be completely tasteless. For that reason, we recommend keeping the order of dishes and wines on the menu, always opening lightly and saving more full-bodied options for last.

Preparando chuletillas al sarmiento en el Jardín de las Variedades de Bodegas Valdelana (Elciego, Rioja Alavesa)

1d) Recipe matters:

Another fundamental rule of thumb for successful pairing is to think about how the menu has been cooked. Eating a chicken stewed with spices is not the same as making a salad with breaded chicken strips. So beyond the ingredients used, it is convenient to think of the recipe as something global.

1e) Typical dishes and their origins:

One last tip to get our combination right is to think about the characteristics of a place, to find the right pairing between wine and food. Can you think of a simpler and more effective pairing than potatoes a la Riojana with a young red of the same origin?

Plato de patatas a la riojana

2) How to pair each type of wine:

Given these initial notes, these are our recommendations for pairing the different types of wines.

Bebiendo un vino tinto joven de Rioja en Rioja Alavesa

2a) White wine pairing:

In general, white wines combine excellently with light appetizers, salads, rice dishes, pasta, white meat and fish. Of course, within white wines you have to see if they are more or less acidic or more or less sweet. For example, white fish (hake, monkfish, cod …) go well with dry white wines, while blue fish (anchovy, tuna, mackerel …) do the same with more mature whites or even young reds. Seafood tends to go well with very fruity white wines.

In white meats (chicken, rabbit, turkey) the main difference is in the way it is cooked. If we prepare them in stews, with sauces or many spices, these will combine better with more settled whites. If we do it grilled, dry wine will be your best ally. If we talk about semi-sweet or sweet white wines, in addition to the aforementioned appetizers, fish and seafood, new possibilities appear such as cheese, fruit … even very spicy food!: the sweetness of these wines counteracts the spiciness of this type of recipes. Of course, sweet whites also go well with desserts, but there are those who prefer contrasts.

Copa de vino blanco semidulce de Bodegas Valdelana con plátano

2b) How to pair rosé wines:

Have you ever wondered where the color of wine comes from? Well, although the grape must is clear and transparent, the combination of this with the grape skin is what determines its final color. Depending on the variety of grape that is used and the time that the skin and the must are in contact, the wine will acquire one color or another. The rosés are the result of combining the must with red grape skins.

Having clarified this, these types of wines are always present in the gastronomic societies of northern Spain because they are perfect to open any meal. The rosés pair excellently with appetizers, tapas, salads, vegetables, rice dishes, pasta, white meats, stews and soft fish. We love to combine it with sushi and our grandfather with bread with oil and cheese.

Maridaje de vinos rosados de Bodegas Valdelana con sushi

2c) Red wine pairing:

If we want to enjoy the possibilities of red wines, we must value, above all, their age. The body of a young wine is very different from that of a crianza or reserva. To clarify the main differences between these, say that a young wine is one that is consumed within the first year, while the crianza have an aging of at least 24 months, compared to 36 for the reserve. Obviously, this time in the barrel and in the bottle gives the wines different flavors and nuances than a young wine, which gives it different pairing possibilities. Do not forget that red wines with a high alcohol content can make a light meal taste nothing, so they should be accompanied by stronger meals.

In general, all red wines combine well with a variety of tapas, meats, stews, legumes and typical dishes of the country, although more precise combinations can be made according to age. A young wine goes perfectly with light sausages, cold cuts, semi-cured cheeses, pasta dishes, grilled white meats or blue fish without much elaboration. It also fits with some meats and fish in sauce. The crianza are combined with grilled or roasted meats, stews, cured cheeses and sausages. A reserva or gran reserva wonderfully accompanies more elaborate dishes and stews.


Ver esta publicación en Instagram


Una publicación compartida de Luis (@de.vinos.y.tapas)

3. And you, what do you pair your dishes with?

To finish, it only remains to comment that pairing is an art and there are as many possibilities as there are artists and tastes. And although in theory it may seem that some combinations work better, in practice anything goes. Do you dare to discover and tell us about new formulas?

About Bodegas Valdelana

Bodega de vino en la Rioja Alavesa. Desde 1583 haciendo de la familia la esencia de nuestro vino.

Share this article


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Background Image

Keep informed about news and highlights

    Al enviar el formulario acepto la Política de Privacidad de Bodegas Valdelana.