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Wine Pairing for Dummies in 30 seconds or 3 minutes!

Last week, for Wriggly’s first birthday, my friend Cé stayed over and as we were enjoying a glass of bubbly, we started chatting about wine pairing (as you do). When we were flatmates, I had loads of hobbies (did anyone notice my never-ending string of hobbies?).

We were both members of our local gym, but apart from the steam room and the sauna, we were not the most assiduous of gym-goers (understatement in my case). Cé decided to join an evening class, and what did she go for? Wine tasting, of course!

For a couple of years, she would leave our flat around 6 p.m. every Tuesday, to come back home after ten, every time more knowledgeable about wine, and also considerably chirpier.

I am always partial to a good glass of red wine with strong cheese, or a crisp, ice-cold white on a summer’s day, but although I know the very basic rules of wine pairing, I am by no means an expert.

A few glasses of Millésimé champagne later (anything else would have been rude on baby’s birthday!) and I convinced Cé to come up with a Dummies’ Guide to Wine Pairing, and oh my goodness did she deliver!

Here are Cé’s nuggets of wisdom. It is not a complicated guide, just a few sentences to explain what food complements a range of popular wines.

If you have 30 seconds, read this quick guide

Red: cheese, hearty meals (e.g. casserole, pie, bangers & mash)

White: Fish, seafood, light dishes (e.g. pasta, poultry, Caesar salad, fish pie, scampi)

Rosé: starters, pasta, salads, antipasti

Sparkling: any time, any occasion! It is also ideal for dessert.

If you have 3 minutes, find out a bit more here

Just to make it easier, Cé listed them from lighter wines to stronger ones. Here is what she said:

Sauvignon blanc

“Oh that’s my favourite! It’s crisp and light. It will be as good on its own as it is with a dish. I love it with oysters (yes, oysters!), seafood, fish. Aww, a smoked salmon salad and artichoke hearts… now my mouth is watering.”



“That’s a fruity and smooth wine that can be enjoyed on its own. It’s lovely with salad or a light bite. It’s feminine and soft and makes the perfect sunset drink.”



“For me, rosé is more of a summer wine. Summer is aperitif time. Think cured meats, olives, hummus, crisps and dips. Rosé is like a mouthful of sunshine, fruity flavours and just thinking of it makes me feel relaxed.”

Wine Pairing for Dummies - Rosé and Sharing platter

Cabernet Sauvignon

“This medium-bodied wine goes perfectly well with pasta, chicken dishes and barbecue. It has a smooth taste which makes you want just a drop more.”

 Wine Pairing for Dummies - Pasta with Cabernet Sauvignon


“As a true French girl, red wine like Merlot always brings cheese to my mind. This medium-bodied wine is soft on the palate and works particularly well with goat’s cheese.”

Wine Pairing for Dummies - Cheese and Merlot


“Shiraz is like a good friend. It provides great company, feels like a warm hug and I am always sad when my glass is empty. Full bodied, it is perfect with meat, strong cheese or any chocolate dessert.”

What is your favourite type of wine?


  1. 16/06/2015 / 9:37 pm

    Love it! And I agree about rosé and summer being synonymous 🙂 My fave French wines are pouilly fumé and beaujolais xx

    • Mel
      16/06/2015 / 9:51 pm

      I love Pouilly Fumé! That’s the white wine we had for our wedding reception. x

  2. 17/06/2015 / 12:32 am

    Thanks for this! This is really helpful. I never know how to order wine, so always let others do it for me.

    • Mel
      18/06/2015 / 10:38 pm

      I like the idea of letting others order wine! It would mean trying a range of nice wines.

  3. myrecipebookuk
    17/06/2015 / 7:20 am

    I very unknowledgable about wine, I’d absolutely love to go on a wine tasting course to learn more. I knew the very basic red v white rule but after than I tend to go for what’s on special offer/brands I’ve heard of/which has the prettiest bottle.

    • Mel
      17/06/2015 / 5:19 pm

      I love your ‘prettiest bottle’ rule! I’d love to go on a wine tasting course, too!

      • 18/06/2015 / 10:46 pm

        Maybe we need to drop hints at the River Cottage in the hope that the Foodies 100 add wine tasting into a future event.

        • Mel
          18/06/2015 / 11:08 pm

          Oh you’re a clever lady!

    • Mel
      18/06/2015 / 10:44 pm

      I would love to go on a wine tasting course, too!

  4. aimee linehan
    17/06/2015 / 9:36 am

    Usually i say any wine any time 🙂 but now i shall know what im doing when buying my next bottle. Thank you xx

    • Mel
      17/06/2015 / 5:19 pm

      Oh sweetie, thanks so much for your comment! Xxx

    • Mel
      18/06/2015 / 10:42 pm

      I like the concept! Any wine, any time sounds great. Thanks for the comment sweetie. x

  5. Alexandra Mercer (Life of Mummy)
    17/06/2015 / 12:18 pm

    I usually go for a merlot but if I’m on a really tight budget I find any Chilean red is normally quite nice x

    • Mel
      17/06/2015 / 5:20 pm

      I love red, too with meat or cheese. X

  6. 18/06/2015 / 11:50 pm

    Love this, I worked in a wine shop for a while, I drank quite a lot all in the name of education!!! x

    • Mel
      18/06/2015 / 11:57 pm

      You had a great excuse! I used to look after my mum’s office every summer when I was younger. When you sell champagne, you have to try it with potential clients. It would be rude not to!

  7. Mr Ben Groom
    23/06/2015 / 2:39 pm

    A very handy guide! Though I wish I knew which was best for drinking straight from the bottle! Not really! I know it’s Pinot Noir 😀

    • Mel
      23/06/2015 / 9:46 pm

      Oh no, no, no!

  8. Fionnuala
    23/06/2015 / 8:37 pm

    We are lucky to live very close to three wine regions, Baden and Pfalz in Germany and Alsace in France. I love that we can buy wines made locally, and the wine festivals in autumn are great.
    For white a Riesling is my favourite. In reds I like a Pinot Noir.

  9. Lindy
    26/06/2015 / 2:17 pm

    love this- very handy!

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