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The wines to pair with meat (7 Combo’s To Delight your Taste Buds)

Want to make your dinner a little more exciting? Here are the best wines to pair with meat that can take your dishes from simply good to great. 

So you want to be extra for dinner tonight. You want something that makes you feel like you’re in a steakhouse. But, you’ll do it in your outdoor kitchen.

If you’re not sure what wine to serve with your meat meals. Then, you’re in the right place!

Of course, you may always pair your meat with a glass of red wine. However, it’s a different story when adding sauces or other flavorings.

So, let’s get started with these delicious pairings!

Meat And Wine Pairing House Rules

wines to pair with meat: the rules

Before anything else, you need to know first the house rules of meat pairing. It will help you narrow down your choices.

  • Red wine is best paired with bold red meats.
  • A good general rule to remember is that the lighter the wine, the leaner the meat.
  • It’s good to pair fattier meats with more bitter wines to balance things out.
  • Always pair intense dishes with intense wines.
  • Pairing the wine with the sauces rather than the meat is a good idea, especially for lighter meat dishes.

What Wine Pairs With Fish?

wines to pair with meat: with fish

Choosing a wine for a fish depends on the fish you’re cooking.

Fish that is lean and flaky goes nicely with zesty and refreshing whites. It can balance the delicate flavor of the fish. Grüner Veltliner Pinot Grigio, Champagne, and Vinho Verde are examples of these wines.

Medium texture fish will stand out to richer wine! Look for rich, full-bodied whites aged in oak and medium-bodied whites with a rich aroma. Chardonnay California Sauvignon Blanc is an example of it.

Firm fish with a meaty, steak-like texture complements rich white wines with many flavors. And even a few red and rosé wines. 

Red wines go well with fish that have a strong flavor. Dry Rosé , Pinot Noir, and Grenache Blanc to name a few.

What Wines Pair With Chicken And Poultry?

wines to pair with meat: chicken

When it comes to pairings, poultry falls somewhere in the middle. Depending on how it’s cooked, you can pair it with white, pink, or red wine, depending on how it’s cooked.

White meats like chicken and turkey breast go well with white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Dark meats, such as duck, pair well with medium-bodied red wines like Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Pair chicken and poultry with Schiava when using a soy-based sauce like teriyaki. Many people consider Zinfandel the ideal Thanksgiving wine because it pairs well with turkey.

Other types of poultry have traditional pairings as well. You can pair Pinot Noir with duck-based cuisine. If you’re serving cold food like chicken salad or turkey sandwiches, go for Brachetto.

Also, I got some best marinades for your chicken. Check it out!

What Wine Pairs With Pork?

wines to pair with meat: pork

Pork has the benefit of pairing well with almost any red wine and some whites and rosés. It’s all about the cooking methods and spices for pork pairings.

Riesling is a good match with spicy pork meals with semi-sweet fruit and citrus flavor. Riesling also pairs well with grilled pork meals. Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon also work well with pork stir-fry.

When making sweet and sour pork, choose wines like Pinot Grigio or White Zinfandel to balance the flavors. 

Try a creamy Chardonnay with herbed pork that doesn’t overpower the herbs and braises.

What Wine Goes With Lamb?

wines to pair with meat: pork

You can make delicious meals out of lamb.  It’s one of the best meats for pairing with wine.

Since lamb has a lighter and more delicate flavor than beef, it usually demands a lighter wine to pair with it.

You can serve young lamb and spring lamb with a lighter wine. While roasted lamb meals pair well with a wide variety of red wines.

Pinot noir is a great choice, especially if your lamb is medium-rare. You can also experiment with stronger wines.

You can also pair barbecued lamb with pinot noir or a blended red. But Syrahs can make it extra special.

What Wine Pairs With Smoked Meats?

wines to pair with meat: smoked meats

Let’s go on to the more challenging dish now. And I’m talking about smoked meat. You usually marinate it in a spicy dry rub or liquid marinade for several hours.

Smoked meats have such a distinct, often intense flavor you might need more guidance in this category.

Working off the smokiness with savory wines like a nice Italian Sangiovese or Nebbiolo, or a South American Carménère, is a safe bet. Charron suggests a red or white wine with a strong oak flavor or a red or aged white wine with smoked meats.

What Wine Pairs With Steak?

wines to pair with meat: steak

Steak and red wine is a classic combination. The flavor of a bold wine with firm tannins and juicy fruit combined with fatty steak slices creates a true marriage of flavors.

The rarer a steak is, the less tannin in any matching wine. A rare steak will make a young cabernet sauvignon or malbec taste more delicate.

The fattier the steak, the stronger the wine you pair with it. Ribeye steaks go well with Rhône reds or other syrah or GSM blends. While a leaner fillet steak goes well with pinot noir.

Have you heard reverse sear a steak? It is one of my secrets to achieving a perfect steak paired with a glass bottle of wine.

people also ask

Why do red wine and red meat go together?

The ideal flavor combination is created by the interaction between the protein in meat and the tannins in red wine, which are made from grape skins and seeds as well as the wine barrels during the aging process. As tannin molecules break down the fat in the meat, more of the flavor is released.

Can wine help with meat digestion?

Red wine helps counteract harmful substances, such as oxidized fats known as malonaldehydes (MDA), which are released when meat is digested. Protein also helps the wine’s tannins become more appealing.

Why does wine make food taste better?

Other liquids (like broth and water) and fats (like olive oil and butter) tend to mask flavors. Alcohol, however, aids in the release of flavor molecules and the dissolution of fats, revealing the individual flavors of the ingredients.


We all know how a well-chosen wine can transform a good, hearty meal into extraordinary. Pairing is a subjective topic.

When it comes to pairing meat with wine, there’s no rulebook. However, certain ways will lead to a balanced and matching sweet spot for your palate.

Some wines go with every meal, whether you’re grilling a ribeye, prepping a rack of lamb, or cutting up some poultry. Check out the best deli slicers to help you with your meat slicing!

Also, I discovered some great wine and food combos. You can try them out as well!

What is your favorite meat-pairing wine? Please let me know in the comments so I can give them a try!