Going Beyond Cheese & Chocolate

Withitsrich tapestry of flavors, aromas, and textures, wine has the unique ability to transform a simple meal into a sumptuous feast for the senses. And while you’ll never hear me complaining about a good chocolate or cheese tasting, today we’re going to break free from convention and explore unique food pairings that will unlock new dimensions in the wines you love.

Pairing wine with unconventional dishes has the power to develop the full potential of both the food and the wine. It’s about finding that perfect balance for you, so don’t hesitate to experiment beyond what you see here. The possibilities are limited only by your own imagination so get creative and grab some friends – it’s snack time!

13 Fun Food and Wine Pairings

# 1 – Spicy Sushi Rolls & Riesling

A well-chilled Riesling is a versatile match for sushi, complimenting both the delicate flavors of sashimi and balancing the heat of a spicy roll. With a gentle sweetness that beautifully offsets the spice,Riesling’s refreshing acidity awakens and cleanses the palate.

#2 – Indian Curry & Gewürztraminer

This pairing is a journey where each bite and sip intertwine in a fragrantfusion of flavors.Gewürztraminer, known for its floral and fruity aromas, harmonizes with the complex layers of Indian curry to strike a perfect balance of sweet and heat.

#3 – Elotes& Verdejo

The smoky, spicy notes of elotes find their match in a refreshing glass of Verdejo. With its citrusand green apple flavors, Verdejo adds a tart contrast to the corn’s richness, elevating this street food favorite into a wine pairing showstopper.

#4 – Popcorn & Champagne

Movie night just leveled up. Champagne’s toasty, yeasty notes seamlessly meld with the luxury of extra butter while the bubbly effervescence cleanses the palate so you’re always ready for the next decadent bite.

#5 – BBQ & Syrah

QueSyrah, Syrah – the wine’s dark fruit, smoky undertones, and hint of spice enhance and complement the rich flavors of barbequed meat. From ribs to pulled pork, this combination will give your guests the feeling of sitting in the corner booth at a fancy steakhouse – even if they’re just in your backyard.

#6 – Avocado Toast & Grenache

A beloved brunch classic finds an unexpected partner in Grenache when the buttery richness of the avocado meets captivating notes of ripe strawberry, red cherry, and hints of black raspberry. The contrast of creamy textures and a subtle spiciness of the wine, combined with balanced acidity and moderate tannins, create a surprising and delightful culinary treat.

#7 – Potato Chips & Chardonnay

The crispy, salty nature of potato chips marries beautifully with a well-chilled, lightly oaked Chardonnay. The wine’s buttery notes and acidity help cut through the chips’ saltiness, creating an intriguing balance of textures and flavors. Pro-tip: go beyond “original flavor” to find a combo you like best.

#8 – PB+J & Merlot

This pairing offers a nostalgic traipse down memory lane with a sophisticated twist.
Merlot’s red fruit notes enhance the natural sweetness of the jelly, while the velvety texture and gentle tannins provide a smooth counterpoint to the heartiness of peanut butter.

#9 – Mac + Cheese& Sauvignon Blanc

In this delightful pairing, the creamy richness of mac and cheese encounters the zesty, invigorating character of Sauvignon Blanc. The wine’s crisp acidity cuts through the cheese’s decadence, creating a mouthwatering contrast that enhances this beloved comfort dish with each bite and sip.

#10 – Hummus & Pinot Grigio

The velvety texture of hummus, made from pureed chickpeas and tahini, is elevated by the refreshing citrus notes and crisp acidity of Pinot Grigio. The hummus’s garlicky undertones are offset by the wine’s subtle complexity, creating an intriguing play of flavors on your palate. Add different vegetables and pita fillings to keep things interesting.

#11 – Cheese Puffs & Rosé

TThis pairing is a delightful reminder that sophistication need not be stuffy, and elegance can be playful. With hints of red berries, florals, and citrus, Rosé adds a vibrant contrast to the cheesy richness, allowing the snack’s crunch and the wine’s lively notes to play off each other for a simple but effective combination.

#12 – Chicken + Waffles & Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir’s refreshing acidity and subtle tannins cut through the richness of the dish, offering a balanced and refined counterpoint. Meanwhile, the lightly sweet waffles, bathed in maple syrup, find a companion in the wine’s red fruit-forward character, adding depth to the sweetness without overwhelming it.

#13 ¬– Tacos & Zinfandel

At your next taco night, consider swapping the margs for a bold and spicy Zinfandel. Therobust berry notes and peppery finish accentuate a wide range of taco fillings. Whether you’re enjoying classic carne asada, smoky barbacoa, or veggie tacos, Zinfandel helps develop the complexity of the spices, making every bite a memorable moment.

Whether you’re hosting a tasting night with friends or simply seeking to expand your palate, experimenting with new wine and food flavor combinations is a great way to practice your ordering skills. (Check out our blog on How to Master any Wine List for more tips).

And when you’re ready to go even deeper on your wine journey – check out my Online Wine course, featuring over 60 high-quality videos, 16 quizzes, and a comprehensive final exam to test your knowledge.