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What's Up Magazine

Fire Up Flavor

Jun 10, 2013 11:54PM ● By Anonymous

There are a few key points to keep in mind. White usually means light. Light-bodied white wines can go hand in hand with lighter fare. Think chicken, seafood, and vegetables. Bolder, fuller-bodied wines hold up to, and enhance, the flavors of richer meats, such as steaks, burgers, or lamb. It is important to not overpower your flavors. Something like a burger or piece of steak can hold up to a richer wine. However, serve that same wine with a piece of sole or tilapia and you’ll drown out their delicate flavors. Keep your full-bodied wines for foods that can handle it and serve lighter wines with more delicate meals.

Matching wines to flavors is a standard rule in pairing. Every now and then, however, it is fun to break the rules a bit and go rogue. Try pairing your food with wines that are contradictory. A sweeter wine will offset a spicy dish. For example, vegetables with lots of natural sugars will benefit from a slightly peppery wine, such as a Zinfandel.

In terms of grilling, there are a few key players to keep in mind when considering how to pair wine.


Vegetables can be tricky to pair with wine, since they all have so many different flavor profiles. When grilled, however, there is a charred flavor that evens the playing field. Try a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc. The crisp flavors will complement the vegetables. A dry but fruity rose would also pair well, since it won’t overpower the flavors in the veggies.


Fish and seafood is one of the easier foods when it comes to wine pairing. Typically, fish has mild and more delicate flavors so a wide variety of white wines will work. Something like shrimp, served simply with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, will pair well with a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp Riesling. Consider, however, the smoky and charred flavor grilling will add.


Ribs, brisket, and pork shoulder often end up slapped onto the grill during the warm summer months. Their meats are tender and succulent, almost buttery, flavored by any number of sauces. The bold flavors of barbecue need a wine that will measure up to and complement the food, not letting the food overpower it. A full-bodied red wine, such as a Shiraz or Malbec, will complement the smoky, saucy flavors. Alternately, a Rhone Syrah offers a peppery flavor profile and that will pair nicely with barbecued foods.


Burgers are a quintessential summertime food, popping up at least once on every grill throughout the season. Their flavors cry out for red wines. The peppery flavors of the Syrah will work with burgers, as well as barbecue. However, be sure to keep your condiments in mind, since these toppers sometimes make the burger. Something with sweet or spicy flavors will strengthen the wine, while something salty or acidic will make the wine milder. A salty burger, such as one topped with crumbled blue cheese, will pair well with a fruity rosé or a Shiraz, since the juicy flavors will cut through the cheese’s saltiness.