Best Food to Pair with Red Wines | A Guide to Perfect Food and Wine Pairing

Wine lovers and foodies rejoice! Nothing beats the pleasure of enjoying a scrumptious meal with a carefully chosen bottle of wine.

While pairing different foods with different wines can be overwhelming, the right combination can take your dining experience to the next level. 

And when it comes to red wines, there’s a world of options to complement their flavors. From bold and fruity to rich and complex, red wines can pair well with a range of dishes.

Here is the ultimate guide to the best food to pair with red wines that will enhance your wine-drinking experience and take you on a culinary journey. From rich pasta dishes to hearty meat dishes, we have it all covered. 

So, sit back, sip your favorite red wine and let us take you on a mouth-watering culinary journey.

26 Best Food to Pair with Red Wines

1. Beef Dishes

Red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot pair famously with beef. A hearty beef stew, a grilled rib-eye steak, or a beef Wellington can enhance the wine’s taste and give it additional depth. 

Beef Dishes

The tannins and acidity of these red wines can easily overpower delicate dishes, but with meat dishes, they complement and balance each other’s flavors. 

2. Pasta Dishes

Pasta is one of the most versatile dishes that can be paired with red wines. The acidity in tomato-based pasta sauces is an excellent match for Sangiovese or Chianti. 


The fruity Merlot pairs well with creamy mushroom pasta, while the robust Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with meaty pasta dishes like Bolognese. Pairing pasta with red wine brings out the richness in both perfectly.

Discover More: The Perfect Side Dishes to Accompany Pesto Pasta

3. Cheese Platters

Cheese and wine are a classic pair. The rich and nutty notes in Cheddar pair well with spicy Syrah or Zinfandel. 

The bold flavors of blue cheese go perfectly with a bold wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, while soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert complement the silky texture of Pinot Noir. Cheese platters are an excellent appetizer or a perfect snack to pair with red wine.

4. Spicy Food

Spicy food is a challenge when it comes to pairing it with wine. However, red wine with low tannins, like Pinot Noir, can complement spice-heavy dishes like curry or chilli con carne. 

Chili con Carne

The fruity notes and lower alcohol content help cool down the heat and balance the dish’s spiciness. A chilled red wine like Beaujolais or Zinfandel also pairs well with spicy food.

5. Chocolate Desserts

Pairing red wine with chocolate may not seem natural, but it works like magic. Dark chocolate with strong cocoa flavors pairs well with bold, tannic red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. 

Milk chocolate pairs well with a smooth Merlot or a fruity Pinot Noir. The combination of chocolate and red wine can be a gourmet experience for your taste buds.

6. Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon:

If you want to experience the classic combination of food and wine, then steak and Cabernet Sauvignon are sure to deliver. The robust tannins in Cabernet work well with the bold flavors of a meaty steak. 

The smokiness and char-grilled taste of steak complement the richness of Cabernet Sauvignon. 

You can either make a grilled steak or throw it on a pan and serve it with a glass of your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon.

7. Pizza and Chianti:

If you’re craving some comfort food, pizza and Chianti can be a perfect match. The acidity and tanginess in Chianti pair beautifully with the tomato sauce and cheese in pizza. 


The spicy and bold flavors of a pepperoni pizza can complement the subtle fruitiness of Chianti. 

Whether you’re ordering it or baking it at home, you can never go wrong with a slice of pizza paired with a glass of Chianti.

8. Dark chocolate and Pinot Noir

If you have a sweet tooth and want to indulge in some dessert, try pairing dark chocolate with Pinot Noir. 

The full-bodied and fruit-forward flavors of Pinot Noir can cut through the richness of dark chocolate and enhance its flavors. 

The earthy and smooth texture in Pinot Noir can balance the bitterness in dark chocolate, creating a delightful taste sensation. Enjoy a piece of dark chocolate and a glass of Pinot Noir for a perfect after-dinner treat.

9. Lamb and Syrah

If you’re planning a dinner party and want to impress your guests, serve lamb and Syrah. The gamey and bold flavors of lamb pair well with the spicy and complex notes in Syrah. 

The full-bodied and rich texture of Syrah can enhance the flavors of lamb and create a mouth-watering experience. Roast a lamb or make a lamb stew and serve it with a glass of Syrah for a perfect pairing.

10. Barbeque Grilled Chicken and Zinfandel

If you’re in the mood for some barbeque chicken, then Zinfandel can be a perfect match. 

The fruity and spicy notes in Zinfandel can complement the smoky and tangy flavors of barbeque-grilled chicken. 

The bold tannins in Zinfandel can cut through the flavors of barbeque sauce and elevate the taste of grilled chicken. Prepare your barbeque grilled chicken and serve it with a glass of Zinfandel for a blissful experience.

Red Wine and Food Pairing- Guide

Red wine and food pairing can be a daunting task for the uninitiated, but it doesn’t have to be! 

Red wines are incredibly versatile and can pair well with a variety of dishes. Here’s a guide on how to make the perfect red wine and food combination:

When selecting a red wine to pair with food, look at the body and tannin levels of the wine. 

Full-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel have higher amounts of tannins, making them ideal for full-flavored foods like steak, lamb or game. 

If you’re looking for an accompaniment to lighter fare, such as grilled vegetables or fish, try a medium-bodied red such as Merlot or Pinot Noir.

The flavors in your dish should also factor into your selection. For example, if you’re making pasta with tomato sauce, try an Italian red such as Chianti that has both acidity and fruitiness; this combination will complement the acidity of the tomatoes while bringing out their natural sweetness. 

Similarly, pairing a heavy dish such as a beef stew with Merlot is ideal since it adds richness without overpowering the dish.

In addition to having complementary flavors, it’s important to consider texture when selecting a red wine for your meal. 

Heavier dishes usually require more tannic wines because they have more structure which provides a balance between the dish’s flavor and texture. 

On the other hand, lighter dishes often require more approachable wines that don’t overwhelm delicate flavors while still delivering complexity on the palate.

Finally, remember that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing food with red wine – experimentation is key! 

Each individual will find different combinations that work better than others, so don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment until you find your perfect match!

Explore More: Best Food to Pair with Red Bordeaux Wine

healthy food pairings with red wine

Red wine is a popular choice among foodies, and it pairs nicely with a variety of different foods. Here are five healthy food pairings that will bring out the best in your favorite bottle of red:

1. Red Wine & Salmon

This classic pairing is not just delicious but also very healthy! 


The richness of the red wine complements the natural oils found in salmon, while the acidity balances out the fishy flavor. Plus, salmon contains essential Omega-3 fatty acids that can help promote heart health.

2. Red Wine & Dark Chocolate

If you’re looking for an indulgent yet healthy combination, look no further than red wine and dark chocolate. 

Both are loaded with antioxidants—which can help reduce inflammation—so why not enjoy them together? Opt for dark chocolate with 70 percent or higher cocoa content to get the most health benefits from this pairing.

3. Red Wine & Cheese

Cheese and red wine have been enjoyed together for centuries as they are known to be one of the best food combinations around. 

You don’t need to eat a lot of cheese to get great flavor—just opt for high-quality cheeses like aged Gouda or Manchego that offer subtle nuances when paired with your favorite bottle of cabernet sauvignon or merlot.

4. Red Wine & Steak

A juicy steak and full-bodied red wine make for an unbeatable combination! 

Grilled steak

Tannins give you that pleasingly dry sensation in your mouth when drinking reds, which makes them perfect partners for steak and other offerings from the grill, such as lamb chops or pork tenderloin.

5. Red Wine & Olives

Olives provide plenty of heart-healthy fats and antioxidants when consumed in moderation; combined with some good red wine, olives make an excellent starter course before dinner or a snack at any time during the day! 

Try marinating olives overnight in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and oregano before serving on top of some crusty bread slices alongside a glass (or two!) of your favorite cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir.

vegetarian food to pair with red wine

1. Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and onions are a delicious option to pair with red wine. 

Roasted Vegetables

The sweetness of the vegetables is enhanced by the rich flavors of the wine, creating an amazing flavor combination. 

Roasting vegetables in a marinade with herbs and spices like garlic, oregano, thyme and rosemary can bring out even more depth and complexity to the pairing.

2. Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Portobello mushroom burgers are a great vegetarian-friendly meal that would be fantastic with red wine. 

Grill up some portobello mushrooms with caramelized onions for an added savory flavor before topping them off with melted cheese and your favorite condiments for a delicious meal that pairs well with a full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

3. Eggplant Parmigiana 

Eggplant Parmigiana is an Italian classic that is sure to pair perfectly with red wine. 

Start by lightly coating sliced eggplant in seasoned flour before pan-frying them until they just begin to brown on each side. 

Layer them up in a baking dish with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves and freshly grated Parmesan cheese before baking in the oven until golden and bubbly. 

Enjoy this tasty dish alongside a glass of Syrah or Pinot Noir for a delightful pairing experience!

4. Ratatouille

Ratatouille is always another excellent choice to serve whenever you have guests over for dinner who don’t eat meat but still want something flavorful to go along with their drinks! 


Start off by sautéing up some chopped eggplant, bell peppers, onion and garlic in olive oil until fragrant before adding diced tomatoes and fresh herbs like oregano and thyme for added flavor complexity when paired with red wines like Zinfandel or Grenache.

5. Baked Polenta

Enjoy this comforting Italian dish alongside your favorite bottle of red wine! 

Begin by simmering vegetable broth together with some minced garlic cloves before slowly whisking in polenta until it starts to thicken up into a porridge-like consistency; pour it into greased ramekins or baking dishes, then bake until golden brown on top before serving hot! (Recipe)

Pair this creamy delight alongside bolder varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec for best results!

red wine to pair with Indian food

When it comes to pairing Indian food and wine, you can’t go wrong with a rich, full-bodied red. 

Look for one that has fruity notes of plums, cherries, or strawberries, as these will pair nicely with the spices and flavors found in Indian cuisine. 

A medium to high tannin red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah is the perfect complement to creamy curries. 

For something slightly lighter, try Pinot Noir or Merlot. These wines offer just enough tannins and acidity to stand up to Indian food’s bold flavors without being overpowering. 

Other great options include Zinfandel, Grenache, Sangiovese and Barbera. Whatever type of red you choose, it should be high in quality – nothing too acidic or too sweet. 

The right bottle of wine can really elevate an Indian meal and add another layer of flavor and complexity to the dining experience!

best red wine to pair with Thai food

When it comes to pairing red wines with Thai cuisine, there are many options. For those who enjoy a bolder flavor, a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah would be an excellent choice. 

These reds have intense flavors of dark fruit and spices, which will help to balance the spicy notes of Thai food.

For those looking for something a bit lighter, Pinot Noir or Zinfandel are great choices. 

The subtle berry and spice flavors of these reds pair well with the complex flavors found in Thai dishes, such as curries and coconut-based sauces.

Finally, if you are looking for something that is truly unique and unexpected, try pairing your Thai dish with a Gamay or Beaujolais Nouveau. With their bright cherry notes and light body, these wines provide the perfect contrast to the bolder flavors found in Thai cuisine.

Depending on the choice of wine you choose to pair with your Thai meal, it is important to consider the level of spiciness of the dish when selecting your wine. 

If you plan to serve a spicy dish, be sure to select a wine that can stand up to its heat – otherwise, you could end up overpowering your food! Enjoy!

Red wine

red wine to pair with Mexican food

When it comes to selecting the best red wine to pair with Mexican food, one should consider a variety of factors. The bold, spicy flavors of Mexican dishes often require bolder red wines. 

Malbec and Syrah are great options for this type of cuisine due to their intense, peppery notes that complement the flavors found in Mexican dishes. 

Merlot is another excellent option, as its soft tannins and fruity aromas pair perfectly with enchiladas and tacos. 

If you are looking for something a bit more earthy, Tempranillo is a great choice thanks to its herbal-spice undertones, which make it an excellent companion to chile con carne and other fiery dishes. 

When pairing wine with Mexican food, it is important to go for bottles that are relatively low in alcohol content—this will help keep the overall meal balanced in terms of flavor intensity. Lastly, don’t forget about Sangiovese! 

It’s high acidity and oaky notes make it perfect for guacamole, quesadillas, fajitas and more. Regardless of the exact varietal chosen, there are plenty of delicious red wines that can bring out the very best in Mexican cuisine.

best red wine to pair with Italian food

When it comes to pairing red wine with Italian food, there are several great options to choose from. A classic Italian pairing is Sangiovese, a full-bodied red grape variety native to Tuscany. 

It has a herbaceous, earthy quality that complements many traditional Italian dishes, such as lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs. 

A lighter option is Barbera, a bright, acidic red grape variety that is often paired with rich panini or arancini. Also popular in Italy is Nero d’ Avola – a bold, dark-skinned red grape that’s best paired with robust sauces like bolognese or ragu. 

If you are looking for something a bit more luxurious, look no further than Barolo – an intense, tannic wine made from the Nebbiolo grape variety. 

It pairs wonderfully with gamey meats like wild boar or rabbit and can also stand up to full-flavored cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano. No matter which type of wine you choose, you’ll find the perfect complement to your favorite Italian dishes!

best red wine to pair with Chinese food

When pairing red wine with Chinese food, it is important to consider the flavors of both. As Chinese food often contains sweet and salty flavors, a lighter-bodied red such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais can be a great compliment. 

Both of these varietals have light tannins and enough acidity to cut through heavier sauces while still having the body to stand up to spicier dishes.

Pinot Noir also has earthy and berry characteristics that blend nicely with sweet and savory flavors found in many traditional Chinese dishes. 

A classic pairing would be a Pinot Noir with Peking Duck or Spicy Sichuan Beef. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little bigger but still fairly light, try an Australian Shiraz or French Syrah – both of which bring fruity sweetness and pepper notes that can help balance out the saltiness found in some Chinese dishes.

How do you serve red wine at a party?

red wine

When serving red wine at a party, there are a few important steps to follow. 

First, it is important to make sure that the wine has been properly chilled for about an hour before serving. 

The ideal storage temperature for red wines is between 55 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. If the wine is too warm, it will taste flat and uninspiring; if it’s too cold, some of its flavor and aroma will be muted.

Next, open the bottle of wine just before you plan to serve it, and always use a corkscrew or screw cap opener to open the bottle. 

When pouring glasses, pour no more than four ounces per person as red wines tend to contain higher levels of alcohol; depending on your guests, it is best to practice moderation.

Finally, when serving the red wine to your guests, make sure that the glasses being used are clear and that there is sufficient light in the room so that your guests can fully appreciate its color and clarity. 

Also, try to serve it with other snacks that will complement the wine, such as cheese or olives. These accompaniments will help bring out the flavors of the wine and help create a more pleasing experience for all. Enjoy!

Wrap Up

Pairing food and wine can elevate your drinking experience and can take your gastronomic journey to the next level. 

Whether it is hearty beef dishes, rich pasta, cheese platters, spicy food, or chocolate desserts, red wines have the perfect companion to make your meal experience unforgettable. 

Next time you open a bottle of red wine, try one of the pairings mentioned above, and you’ll be amazed at the depth of flavors they bring out in each other.


What not to eat with red wine?

Red wine should be avoided when eating dishes that are high in salt, vinegar, and/or spice, as these can make the flavor of the red wine seem harsh and unpleasant. 

Additionally, red wines typically do not pair well with overly sweet foods such as chocolate desserts or candy. 

Red wines are also generally best avoided with deep-fried foods such as French fries or fried chicken. Smoked meats and fish can also overpower a delicate red wine.

Finally, avoid pairing red wines with strongly flavored cheeses such as blue cheese or aged cheddar because their strong flavor will compete with the subtleties of the red wine. Instead, look for milder options like Brie or Camembert to pair your glass of red with.

By being mindful of the food and flavors you are drinking your red wine with, you can ensure that your wine experience is one to remember!

What to serve with red wine for appetizers?

When serving red wine, some light appetizers pair nicely with it. Popular examples include charcuterie and cheese boards featuring various salamis, cheeses, olives and grapes. 

Bruschetta topped with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil is a great option as well. Other options include roasted vegetables such as beets, carrots or squash served with a flavorful dip like hummus or pesto. 

Seafood dishes like mussels in tomato sauce or clams steamed in white wine also pair well with red wine. 

Finally, for those looking for something more substantial, dishes such as steak tartare or blinis topped with smoked salmon can make for a delicious start to a meal.

What meat goes with red wine? 

When it comes to pairing red wine with food, there are many classic combinations that work well.

Rich, full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir pair particularly well with steak, lamb and game meats like venison. 

Hearty stews and braised dishes also go great with these types of wines. Other classic red wine pairings include beef brisket and barbecue ribs. 

Red wines also stand up well to strong flavors like blue cheese and smoked salmon. The possibilities for pairing red wines are endless! Experiment to find your favorite combination!

What nibbles go best with pinot noir?

The best snacks to pair with pinot noir are light, crunchy options such as roasted nuts, crackers and popcorn. 

Cheese is also a great option that pairs nicely with the delicate flavor of this dry red wine. Fresh fruits like strawberries, cherries, raspberries and grapes can provide a nice contrast in flavors against the tartness of the wine. 

Pâtés and charcuterie products like salami and prosciutto are another great complement to pinot noir. 

Try pairing these snacks with some tangy pickled vegetables or olives for an extra pop of flavor. 

When it comes to desserts, dark chocolate truffles offer a wonderful balance with the body and tannins found in pinot noir.

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