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Top 12 Red Wine Food Pairing Recommendations

Experience the enchantment of red wine and food pairing, where flavours intertwine for a memorable dining adventure. Whether you are looking for a wine pairing to impress at a dinner party, seeking the perfect meal for a special bottle of wine, or just looking to up your wine game, this post is for you. 

We’ll explore some of the top red wine and food pairings to get you inspired and to drink red wine! From robust Cabernet Sauvignon and steak to elegant Pinot Noir with tender roast duck; the versatility of red wine complements a range of dishes. 

Embark on a journey of discovery, unlocking the full potential of red wine and cuisine. Indulge your palate and elevate your dining experience. Cheers to the joy of red wine and food pairing!

Pairing wine and cheese may seem like a daunting task, but when you find that perfect match it can be so worthwhile. 
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    What are red wine varieties?

    Red wine varietals refer to the different types of red wine that are produced from specific grape varieties. Each varietal has its own distinct characteristics, flavours, and aromas. Common South African red wine varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Pinotage, and Malbec among others. These varieties offer a diverse range of profiles, from bold and full-bodied to light and fruity. 

    Exploring South African wine varieties allows wine enthusiasts to experience the country’s winemaking prowess and discover new and exciting flavours. You can learn more about the Top South African Wine Grape Varieties or pairing white wine and food on our blog.

    Understanding Food and Wine Pairings for Red Wine Varietals

    When pairing food and wine, there are several aspects to consider for the perfect match. First, take into account the flavour intensity of both the food and wine. Opt for complementary flavours, such as rich red wines with robust dishes and light red wines with delicate flavours. 

    Next, consider the weight and texture of the wine, pairing bold reds with hearty meals and lighter reds with lighter fare. Factor in the acidity of the wine to balance the flavours of the dish and don’t be afraid of salty foods – lighter red wines pair well with salty dishes. 

    Lastly, trust your personal preferences and experiment to find your own perfect wine pairings!

    Pairing red wine with red meat dishes

    When it comes to pairing red wine with red meat dishes, the interplay between tannins and the richness of the meat is key. Grilled meats thrive with robust wines, while braised meats find harmony with smoother wines like Merlot. A perfect match awaits.

    1. Cabernet Sauvignon with Grilled Steak

    Cabernet Sauvignon, known for its boldness and complexity, is a perfect match for grilled steak. The robust flavours of dark berries, cassis, and hints of tobacco as well as the firm tannins, and balanced acidity make Cabernet Sauvignon the perfect pairing to enhance the rich, juicy flavours of steak.The wine’s firm tannins provide a pleasant contrast to the meat’s juiciness, creating a harmonious balance of flavours. 

    Wine Pairing suggestion

    Elevate your dining experience with Stettyn Cellar’s Cabernet Sauvignon for your next steak night and enjoy the harmony of flavours from this full bodied wine.

    2. Merlot with Beef Bourguignon

    Experience culinary delight with the pairing of Merlot and beef bourguignon. The smoothness and fruity flavours of Merlot complement the tender, braised beef, while its medium body and velvety tannins harmonise with the rich flavours of the dish. Explore the depth and elegance of this pairing and discover a new level of satisfaction.

    Wine Pairing suggestion

    Give Stettyn Cellar’s Merlot a try and embark on a delectable journey of taste.

    3. Shiraz and Lamb Chops

    Shiraz is renowned for being a bold red wine  with a spicy character. This makes it an excellent match for succulent lamb chops. The robust and peppery notes in Shiraz complement the herbaceous flavours of lamb, while its firm tannins provide structure to cut through the meat’s richness. The combination of Shiraz’s dark fruit flavours, hints of smoke, and a touch of black pepper create a harmonious union with the juicy and tender lamb chops.

    Wine Pairing suggestion

    Experience this dynamic pairing by exploring Stettyn Cellar’s selection of Shiraz wines, including our exquisite Shiraz 2021 and our Stone Red blend.

    Pairing red wine with poultry and fish

    White wine and fish is a classic pairing, but don’t underestimate a good light red wine as an alternative. Pairing red wine with poultry and fish creates complementary flavours that enhance your dining experience. 

    Light and medium-bodied red wines are perfect choices, as they delicately complement the flavours without overpowering the dishes. Take, for example, Pinotage and Zinfandel, known for their unique flavour profiles. Pinotage beautifully enhances the succulent flavours of roast duck, while Zinfandel brings out the richness of grilled salmon. 

    The key is to find a balance between the wine’s characteristics and the dish, creating a harmonious and complementary pairing. Explore the world of red wine with poultry and fish to elevate your dining pleasure.

    4. Pinotage with Roast Duck

    Savour the delightful pairing of Pinotage with succulent roast duck. The unique South African varietal, Pinotage, offers a perfect balance of fruitiness and earthiness. Its flavours of dark berries, plums, and a touch of smokiness complement the rich and tender meat of roast duck. The wine’s smooth tannins and high acidity enhance the flavours of the dish, creating a balanced and memorable dining experience.

    Wine Pairing suggestion

    Explore the fusion of flavours by trying Stettyn Cellar’s Pinotage with roast duck, and indulge in a truly delectable culinary adventure.

    5. Zinfandel and Grilled Salmon

    Savour the delightful pairing of Zinfandel and grilled salmon. Zinfandel’s bold and fruity character perfectly complements the flavours of grilled fish. The wine’s robustness and richness stand up to the hearty texture of salmon, while its vibrant fruitiness enhances the natural flavours of the fish. Zinfandel’s versatility makes it an excellent choice for pairing with light seafood dishes. Experience the harmony of flavours with Zinfandel and grilled salmon for a memorable dining experience.

    Pairing red wine with vegetarian dishes

    When it comes to pairing red wine with vegetarian dishes, the possibilities are endless. Vegetarian cuisine offers a wide range of flavours and textures that can beautifully complement the complexity and character of red wines. While the complexity of red wines adds depth and richness to plant-based meals. Discover the perfect harmony between red wine and vegetarian fare, and elevate your dining experience to new heights.

    6. Nebbiolo Paired with Wild Mushroom Risotto

    Indulge in the exquisite pairing of Nebbiolo and wild mushroom risotto. Nebbiolo’s elegant structure and earthy notes harmonise with the rich flavours of the risotto. The wine’s subtle hints of fresh herbs complement the aromatic mushroom sauces, creating a delectable combination. The complex character of Nebbiolo elevates the flavours and creaminess of the risotto, making it a delightful culinary experience. Discover the magic of Nebbiolo with a tantalising plate of wild mushroom risotto enhanced by its unique qualities.

    7. The Guardian alongside Eggplant Parmesan

    Indulge in a remarkable pairing of Stettyn Cellar’s Guardian with flavorful eggplant parmesan. The Guardian is a versatile blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Durif red wine grape varieties. The wines intense, deep garnet hue and rich spice-tinged aromas of dark berries and plums perfectly complement the robust flavours of the eggplant, tomato sauce, and melted cheese. The wine’s well-balanced structure and integrated tannins harmonise with the dish’s textures, while its elegant complexity adds depth and sophistication.

    Wine Pairing suggestion

    Experience the exquisite combination of Stettyn’s The Guardian wine and eggplant parmesan for a truly delightful culinary experience.

    eggplant permesan

    Pairing red wine with cheese

    Pairing red wine with cheese is a delightful experience that combines two indulgent pleasures. The richness and complexity of red wines beautifully complement a wide variety of cheeses.  

    Explore the world of flavours by pairing a light Pinot Noir with creamy Brie cheese, where the fruity notes of the wine enhance the creamy texture of the cheese. For a captivating combination, savour the robust Pinotage alongside the nutty Boerenkaas, creating a delightful contrast of flavours. 

    You could even try pairing blue cheese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Discover the art of pairing red wine and cheese, and indulge in the harmonious union of these timeless delights. You can learn more about pairing wine (especially white wine) with cheese in our Ultimate guide to wine and cheese pairings.

    8. Pinot Noir and Brie Cheese

    Pinot Noir is an excellent South African wine for pairing with creamy cheese, such as Brie. The wine’s fruity and earthy flavours perfectly complement the creamy and buttery texture of Brie. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with cheesy dishes, Pinot Noir enhances the richness and indulgence of the creamy cheese, creating a delightful and satisfying culinary experience.

    9. Pinotage and Manchego Cheese

    Pinotage, a unique South African varietal, pairs wonderfully with Boerenkaas, a traditional Dutch-style cheese. The wine’s bold and robust character complements the rich and nutty flavours of the cheese, creating a harmonious combination of savoury and earthy notes. The Pinotage’s ripe berry flavours and hints of spice beautifully enhance the creamy and slightly tangy characteristics of Boerenkaas, resulting in a delightful wine and cheese pairing that showcases the best of South African craftsmanship. 

    Wine Pairing suggestion

    Indulge in the rich flavours of Stettyn Cellar’s Pinotage and elevate your cheese and wine pairing .

    Pairing red wine with spicy dishes

    Pairing red wine with spicy dishes requires a careful balance of flavours to create a harmonious culinary experience. Opt for red wines with moderate tannins and fruit-forward characteristics to counterbalance the heat. The fruity and peppery notes of Grenache make it an excellent choice for spicy tacos, enhancing the flavours without overpowering them. 

    For spicy chicken curry, try the bold and robust Carménère, known for its rich dark fruit flavours and smoky undertones. These red wines add depth and complexity to spicy dishes, elevating your dining experience to new heights. Explore the world of red wine and spice for an explosion of flavours.

    10. Grenache and Spicy Tacos

    If you’re indulging in hot dishes like spicy tacos, Grenache is a red wine varietal that pairs wonderfully with the bold flavours. The fruity and spicy characteristics of Grenache complement the heat and intensity of the tacos, enhancing the overall experience. Its smooth tannins and vibrant acidity balance the spiciness while allowing the flavours to shine. Grab a bottle of Grenache from Stettyn Cellar and elevate your spicy taco feast to new heights of deliciousness.

    11. Shiraz and Spicy Chicken Curry

    When it comes to pairing red wine with spicy chicken curry, one excellent choice is Shiraz. The bold and peppery flavours of Shiraz complement the spiciness of the curry, creating a harmonious combination. The wine’s robust structure and dark fruit notes provide a counterbalance to the heat and intensity of the dish.

    Wine Pairing suggestion

    Enhance your spicy chicken curry experience with a bottle of Shiraz from Stettyn Cellar and enjoy the delightful interplay of flavours.

    Red wine and dessert

    Pairing red wine with desserts is a delightful experience that can elevate your sweet endings to new heights. For rich and indulgent confectioneries, like dark chocolate, complement them with a luscious dessert wine. 

    The intense flavours of a sweet wine or fortified wine, such as Port, perfectly balance the sweetness and richness of the desert. The combination creates a harmonious and luxurious taste experience. 

    Treat yourself to the delightful pairing of red wine and desserts, and indulge in the perfect union of flavours.

    12. Fortified port-style wine and Dark Chocolate

    Indulge in the perfect pairing of sweet and rich wines with decadent chocolate. Fortified wines, like Port or Sherry, are ideal companions for the luscious flavours of chocolate. The natural sweetness and complexity of these wines beautifully complement the richness of chocolate, creating a divine combination of flavours. 

    Whether you prefer dark, milk, or white chocolate, a sip of a sweet fortified wine will elevate your chocolate experience to new heights. Treat yourself to the decadence of this pairing and savour the symphony of flavours.

    Wine Pairing suggestion

    Discover the art of pairing sweet wines with decadent foods with Stettyn’s port-style Cape Vintage fortified wine for an unforgettable indulgence.

    Final thoughts on the best dishes to pair with red wine

    In conclusion, when it comes to food and wine pairing, there are endless possibilities to explore and enjoy. Remember that personal preference plays a key role, so trust your own palate and have fun experimenting with different combinations. 

    The versatility of wine allows it to complement a wide range of dishes, from hearty meats to delicate vegetarian fare. Keep in mind the principles of flavour intensity, acidity, and weight balance as you create your own perfect pairings. 

    If you enjoyed this list of red wine pairings, we would recommend exploring our list of white wine and food pairings and our wine and cheese pairing guide. Our blog also explores more about wine as a whole, including the top South African wine grape varieties, the difference between Champagne, MCC and Sparkling Wine, and much more.

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