Wine 101: Food And Wine Pairing

wine pairing harry dalian

Taken from Kendall-Jackson’s own website, here are the basics of wine pairing:

  • Pair Similar Flavors
    • Wine with similar flavors pair well together – fish with lemon sauce pairs well with citrusy Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Pair Similar Weight And Texture
    • Pair light, medium, and heavy dishes with corresponding wines – both medium and rich, Lobster and Chardonnay go very well together.
  • Pair Same Sweetness
    • Wine should always be of equal sweetness, if not more sweet, than the dish it’s paired with – pork chops and apple sauce are perfect with sweet Riesling.
  • Pair Crisp With Salt
    • A crips wine balances salty food – kalamata olives and feta tapas are complemented by crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Pair According To Sauce
    • Light citrus sauces go well with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, heavy cream and mushroom sauces pair with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and red and meat sauces go well with Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah.
  • Pair For The Spice
    • Spicy foods are relieved by sweet wines – hot Asian foods go very well with Riesling.
  • Pair Tannins With Fat
    • Tannic wines cut through fat leaves in the mouth – Cabernet Sauvignon pairs great with steak.

Click on this infographic for an easy visual guide for what foods pair with what wines:

pairing wine and food harry dalian

The Many Wines Of Italy

italian wines harry dalian

Wine comes from many different regions across the world. Italy is one of the most popular regions with a wide variety of grapes and as a result, many different varieties of wine.

Producing both red and white, Italian wine has something to offer every palate. Here’s a list of the major Italian wine varieties:


Asti: sparkling, moscato grapes from Asti, sweet, low alcohol content, fruity, floral

Frascati: Trebbiano grapes, Frascati area, dry, light, crisp, subtle

Gavi: dry, medium, Cortese grapes from Gavi, crisp. slight notes of honey, apple, and minerals.

Pino Grigio: light, dry, crisp, subtle flavors, Pinot Gris grapes, Northeastern Italy

Soave: Veneto region, Garganega grapes, dry, crisp, light-medium, slight notes of pear, apple, or peach.

Verdicchio: dry, medium, crisp, mineral flavor, fresh, Verdicchio grapes, Marche region


Amarone: full bodied, partially-bried Corvina grapes, Veneto region, dry, firm, concentrated fruity notes

Barbaresco: Very similar to Barolo, same grape and area, lighter, more palatable, best 8-15 years

Barbera: Piedmont region, dry, light-medium, strong berry flavor, acidic, slight tannin, best from Alba or Asti zones

Barolo: dry, full, Nebbiolo grapes, Barolo area, eclectic aromas, strawberry flavor, tar, herbs, earth, tannin, 10-20 years

Brunello di Montalcino: full, strong, Savgiovese grapes, Montalcino zone of Tuscany, dry, very tannic, 15+years

Chianti: very dry, medium, slight tannic. sour cherry flavor, Savgiovese grapes, Chianti area of Tuscany, enjoyed young and old

Lambrusco: sweet, fizzy, grapey flavor, Lambrusco grapes, Emilia-Romagna region, dry, can come sparkling

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: medium, red fruit flavor, slight veggie note, comes as a lighter wine, best enjoyed concentrated, denser, from Montepulciano grape, Abruzzo region

Salice Salentino: dry, full, Negroamaro grapes, Puglia region, strong flavors of hot, ripe fruit, complex

Valpolicella: medium, Corvina grapes, Valpolicella area, Veneto region, dry, light, slight tannic, strong cherry flavor

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: medium, dry, light, cherry flavor, similar to Chianti, Sangiovese grapes, Montepulciano area, Tuscany region.


Check out this video of another guy who is passionate about wine and its many varieties:

The History of Wine

Dionysus, Greek God of Wine and Pleasure

Dionysus, Greek God of Wine and Pleasure

People commonly enjoy wine today with an Italian dinner, to accompany a romantic evening, for a nightcap before laying down to sleep, or as a vehicle for getting inebriated. We know that wine has been consumed by people for many years, making appearances in ancient mythology, holy texts, and cultural customs that date back to the distant past all over the world. However, the history of wine is rarely talked about, and totally deserving of the wine enthusiast’s interest. If you were wondering where wine was first made, here are some clues…

The Origin of Wine

Archeological evidence suggests that drink made of fermented grapes was created in China as far back as 7000 BC. Soon after, wine became a prevalent beverage in the Near East, Mesopotamia, Israel, and Egypt, gaining deep appreciation in Greek and Roman culture, mythology, and daily life. Under the Roman Empire, the wine press was greatly improved and barrels for transport were developed.

Wine in Religion and Mythology

Wine’s ability to alter consciousness has been appreciated within religious circles since it’s conception. The Greeks god Dionysus, god of the grape harvest, was characterized as a hedonist, libertine, and theatric. His cults carried over into Roman culture as well. Wine has been a part of communion in the Catholic Church since ancient times, representative of Jesus’ last supper. Famously, Jesus turns water into wine in the gospel books.

Origin of American-Made Wine

Since the creation and consumption of wine predates written language, it’s impossible to know for certain when and where wine came into existence. However, it’s been speculated that wine first appeared in modern day Georgia following the development of pottery sometime after the Neolithic era, later spreading south, and eventually out in all directions. Georgia seems the most likely source because of the wild grapes endemic to the region. Whatever the case, wine went on to have a major presence in varied social circles, cultures, and different parts of the world. Standing the ultimate test of time, wine continues to be appreciated today.


Best Value Wines

Harry Dalian, Trader Joe's WineThe best wines come from Italy, France, Southern California… Or do they?

Yes, many famous vineyards are in those locations, and come from those climates. You can buy from these locations, however, it does not mean you have to spend top dollar on a very expensive bottle. Do you have the underlying need to impress a date or family member with your knowledge of wine and the sophistication with which you select it? Don’t forget that it can be so much fun to sample the various wines you can find from other areas whose qualities have not been built up on word of mouth and marketing through the grapevine. One of the best places to try a handful of wines you might have missed is Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s, if you haven’t been there recently, has amazing prices. On both food and wine, Trader Joe’s pretty much undercuts all its competition. It has been known affectionately as “the poor man’s Whole Foods”, or should be known as the Smart Buyer’s Whole Foods. Here are a few options:

Purple Moon Wine

Perhaps I shouldn’t tell you the prices up front. Instead I’ll go into the qualities.

Purple Moon Wine comes from a likable vineyard in California. It is a Red wine with easy drinkability and a medium body. Not as harsh or bitter as some Reds, Purple Moon Wine is great for those who love the taste of Red, but would like to be able to drink it with the ease of a White. You can find Purple Moon Wine at a Trader Joe’s wherever wines are sold. The price… now you can have it… it only $3.99

Josefina Syrah Rosé Paso Robles (2012)

Josefina Syrah Rosé Paso Robles comes from San Antonio, Texas by the San Antonio Winery. While it may not compare to the easiness of the Purple Moon Wine, San Antonio does a good job with a Rosé. While the color does not match up in the way you would imagine with most Rosés, the taste is particularly nice, and it is well more than a bargain at $4.99

For more wines at a great value, stay tuned!