White Wine Pairings: White Wine & Food Pairing Guide

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a romantic dinner with your significant other and toasting to your love or having your friends over and toasting to your friendship and accomplishments with a delicious, smooth white wine from your favourite local vineyard. But what makes the experience even better? A meal that pairs perfectly with your white wine. Whether you’re craving seafood, finger foods or grilled meats, there are various types of white wines that will take your night out or night in to the next level.

Do You Know The Differences Between Bodies Of Wine?

Knowing the difference between light body, medium body and full body is important when it comes to pairing food and wine for a couple of different reasons. Plus, it makes you appreciate the beautiful glass of wine in your hands even more. Understanding and appreciating the notes in each body is a hobby and an art, and most importantly, what makes it so darn delicious with certain food.

Light-Bodied Wine

Lighter-bodied wine is seen as more of a “delicate” drink. It’s also referred to as “light” because it contains the lowest amount of alcohol content (12.5% or less) which is why people find it easier to drink. When browsing for a light wine, search for sweet Riesling, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

Pairing options: seafood, chicken, salad, pasta, fried foods, more fatty dishes

Medium-Bodied Wine

Medium-bodied wines typically have an alcohol content of 12.5% to 13.5%. They give you a bit more fullness and make a great pairing for many dishes. Examples of this include dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay, or Pinot Gris.

Pairing options: scallops, lobster, oysters, cheese, salad

Full-Bodied Wine

Full-bodied white wine has the highest alcohol content (13.5% or higher). They typically come from warmer climate areas like California, Spain, France or Italy and soak in oak barrels to give them that “heavier” taste. Look for bottles labelled oaked Chardonnay, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pairing options: meaty dishes, roasted chicken, pasta, breads

How Sparkling Wine Differs

Sparkling wines taste the same but have been fermented with a mixture of yeast and sugar which makes them bubbly and fizzy. Many people think that sparkling wine is champagne, but that’s not true. In order to determine classification, you have to look at where the wine was actually produced.

Did you know that Champagne only refers to the region it came from? Authentic Champagne is from a region in France; a mild climate where Champagne grapes thrive.

What Is Mulled White Wine?

Mulled white wine is a German delicacy. It’s spicy, smells absolutely delicious, and is a great drink to serve your friends and family during holiday dinners, specifically Thanksgiving or Christmas. The recipe is simple yet delicious and typically features:

  • Dry wines rather than rich or sweet wines (can be white or red wine)
  • Orange juice and orange slices
  • Sugar or honey
  • Lemon slices
  • White cloves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cardamom
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice

Wine and Food Pairings

Matching food to the perfect wine pairing can be easier when you know the differences between each body of white wine. Now that you understand the differences, we can get into the best food and wine pairing menus that blow your taste buds away. Just remember that these are examples of contrasting pairings and nothing is set in stone. Everyone has their own preferences and that’s exactly what makes testing different white wines out so fun!

Roasted or Grilled Chicken with Chardonnay

Roasting or grilling chicken is a great way to incorporate different spices that pair exquisitely with oaked Chardonnay. Especially lemon, basil, oregano, garlic and parsley. Food with higher acidity that makes your mouth salivate can make sipping on a high alcohol wine that much more satisfying!

Don’t feel like chicken? Opt for a soup with similar spices, like a white bean-based recipe.

Spicy Foods with Riesling

Because Riesling is a little more rich than dry, it makes a great pair for spicy food to take away some of the heat. Plus, spicy dishes such as Indian food, for example, are known for having heavier creams in the sauces, so having a lighter wine may not make you feel as heavy/full afterwards.

Red Meats with Pinot Grigio

Many people automatically assume they should pair their steak with a glass of red wine, but white wines pair just as well! The natural acidity of the wine will accentuate the rich flavours of the red meat even further. Game meats will work perfectly as well such as venison or bison.

Charcuterie Board with Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is another light, sweet white wine that can pair with practically any type of cheese, which is great if you’re just nibbling on a charcuterie board. Whether it’s aged cheddar, gouda, blue cheese or goat cheese, the pairing won’t disappoint you. Some of the spices in the meats will also counteract the sweetness and acidity of the wine perfectly.

Pairing Wine and Food Is Totally Up To You

While this is just a guide to go off of, it gives you a good idea of what flavours pair better with each other, however, everyone’s palate is different and what you choose to pair together is never wrong. If you’re still stuck searching for that perfect bottle of white wine, shop with The Hare Wine Co. today. We craft every bottle with you in mind.

Red Wine Pairings: What To Eat With Red Wine

For every bottle of red wine, there is a perfect food pairing. While there’s no strict rule as to what you should eat with your favourite red wine, especially because everyone has different palettes and preferences, there are certain reasons why wine connoisseurs make specific food and wine pairing suggestions.

If you’re new to the world of developing your wine palette, that’s okay! Half the fun is understanding what notes to look for, learning what the different bodies of wine are, and what flavours best match its notes.

The Meanings Behind The Different Bodies of Red Wine

Have you ever been sent to the liquor store with instructions to “buy red wine” but you aren’t sure what kind to get? Surely there has to be certain meanings behind each kind.
We’re here to tell you that yes, each kind is completely different. Below, we’ll go over the differences (in alphabetical order) between the types of red wines so you’ll never have to feel confused about which kind to buy again.

Baco Noir (Full-Bodied)

These types of grapes do well in a cooler climate, therefore, they thrive in Ontario (though they originated in France). They’re known for being very flavourful with earthy and spicy notes which is why they’re used to create drier red wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon (Full-Bodied)

These types of grapes thrive in both humid and cooler environments. They’re the most common type of grape that mainly come from places like Napa Valley, Australia, and the Niagara Region. They’re a little more fruity, acidic, and a deeper colour of red.

Cabernet Franc (Medium-Bodied)

If you’re looking for a unique combination, you’ll love this type of red wine that’s popularly found in Niagara. It’s often mixed with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and then aged in oak barrels. The oak barrels bring out the unique flavours even more and provide a more “dry” structure to the wine.

Merlot (Full-Bodied)

This is another very popular type of grape because of its ease to mix with others and to try drinking for beginners. It’s often soft, smooth, sweet, and makes a great math for any dish or dessert.

Malbec (Full-Bodied)

Malbec grapes are most famously known for growing in Argentina even though they originated in France. Because of these grapes being darker and thicker skinned, their sweetness and fruity flavours create a less-dry red wine.

Pinot Noir (Light-Bodied)

Known as one of the lighter reds, Pinot Noir wine is fruity, smoothy, and much like Merlot, it can make the perfect match for any dish or dessert. But did you know that Pinot Noir grapes are the hardest to grow? Because of their thin skin, they’re more susceptible to being damaged by temperatures or by themselves since they grow tightly together.

Zinfandel (Full-Bodied)

Zinfandel is largely grown in the United States in more humid climates like Napa Valley and Lodi. It makes for a very fruity red wine but on the other hand, has subtle flavours of licorice and tobacco. It’s another wine that’s very easy to drink, making it the perfect pairing for most dishes.

Note: Full, medium and light-bodied refers to the alcohol content. The fuller the body of wine, the higher alcohol content it contains (more than 13.5%). The lighter the body of wine, the lower the alcohol content (less than 12.5%).

The Best Food & Red Wine Pairings

Nothing pairs together more perfectly than wine and food, especially after you’ve had a long day or you haven’t spent a night out (or in) with your friends in a long time. But how do you decide what to order with your glass of wine? Remember, the choice is completely up to you and your specific preferences, but here are the best wine and food pairings strictly based on the types of notes the red wine contains.

Hearty Dishes

Red meat, whether it be land, grilled steak, or burgers, make a great match for Cabernet Sauvignon. This type of full-bodied red wine has strong, deep and fruity flavours, so pairing it with equally strong meat flavours will make for a delicious dinner you won’t soon forget. The meat can also dial down the acidity and sweetness of the wine if that’s what you desire.

If you’re opting for a hearty stew such as beef bourguignon, for example, Merlot is a great wine pairing to bring out the soft flavours of both the dish and the wine. It also isn’t a heavy wine, meaning it’s easy to drink it with heavier, meatier dishes.

Fish Dishes

Most people think that fish only pairs well with white wine, but that’s not true. Most red wines actually make a great wine and food pairing, particularly if it’s a sweet red wine. For example, if you’re having salmon, Zinfandel or Merlot can both complement and tone down the fishy taste as they aren’t as dry. For white fish pairings or even pasta dishes with lobster or shrimp, choose a wine with higher acidity to balance with the tomatoes.

Vegetarian Dishes

The secret for vegetable and wine pairing? Earthy wines make the perfect pairing for earthy vegetables. For example, mushrooms, butternut squash, kale, turnips, carrots, onions, etc.

Extra tip: If you’re craving spicy, vegetarian stews, bold red wine can often intensify the spice even further, so you may prefer pairing it with a softer, sweeter red wine like Malbec or Pinot Noir.


Red wine and cheese pairings are classic, delicious, and a simple party pleaser. Like with the other foods above, it’s best to pair heavy cheese with heavy wine, light cheese with light wine, and dry/aged cheese with dry wine.

Examples: Cabernet Franc and goat cheese, Pinot Noir with gruyere, and Cabernet Sauvignon with aged cheddar.

Looking For The Perfect Bottle Of Red Wine?

When it comes to pairing wine with food, our professionals here at The Hare Wine Co. can help you find the best bottle of wine for your needs. No matter what your taste buds are craving (sweet, bold, fruity or earthy) we carry a variety of 100% VQA Ontario wines that are handcrafted with you in mind. We make pairing wine and food easy. Stop by our vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake where you can taste test our wines in a beautiful and relaxing private room or on our patio that overlooks Niagara’s famous wine country.

Roasted Chickpea & Kale Caesar Salad paired with Frontier Dry Riesling


Roasted Chickpeas:

  • One 15 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

For the salad:

  • 5 cups chopped fresh kale, stems removed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Caesar Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcesthershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Pat chickpeas with paper towels to dry and remove any loose skins.
  3. In a large bowl toss chickpeas with oil, garlic powder, lemon zest and salt & pepper.
  4. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and bake until crisp & light brown (approximately 45-50 minutes) tossing halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  5. While chickpeas are roasting prepare dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and thoroughly mix.
  6. De-stem the kale and tear into bit size pieces. Place the kale, olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. “Massage” the kale with your fingertips for approximately 3-5 minutes. This process helps to tenderize the kale, making it softer and less bitter.
  7. When ready to serve salad salad, combine kale, Romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and desired amount of dressing. Plate kale and top with crispy chickpeas.

Pair with the Frontier Riesling! The creaminess and garlic flavours from the Greek yogurt dressing contrasts nicely with this dry, acidic Riesling.

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