The 7 Worst Wine and Food Pairings
Champagne and oysters are a classic wine and food pairing. It has also been beaten into our heads that Cabernet Sauvignon and steak are inseparable like Calvin and Hobbes. However instead of giving you the best, we’re going to give you the worst wine and food pairings. Why? Sometimes learning what not to do helps more.
If you’re drinking water in between each taste of food and wine, then the pairing is not working. Cut your losses and drink wine after dinner.
Certain pairings are guaranteed to give you a hangover and some pairings will make you double over with acid pain. So unless you have a lifetime supply of Tums you might want to listen up.
Remember, a true perfect pairing is where two elements come together and create something even better.
The Dispicable (Greed)
You’re at a restaurant rolling on someone else’s money, or you just robbed a bank and really want to go all out and enjoy yourself. You might find yourself guilty of The Dispicable wine and food pairing. Greed is to blame; you’re trying too hard to enjoy everything all at once.
- Cabernet Sauvignon & Caviar
- It’s like drinking canned grape juice in a swamp.
- Short Ribs & Moscato
- The ribs will eviscerate the delicate flavors of Moscato.
The Mismatch (Sloth)
This pairing happens a lot when you pick things based on what you like and don’t think about pairing together. The Mismatch wine and food pairing happens at restaurants when you order your drinks first and then your dinner. Take a little extra time to pick a good match. The wine may not be your favorite on its own but it will work better with food.
- Chianti & Tuna Salad
- Tuna will make Chianti taste metallic and the vinegar will bring out tannin and sour.
- Red Wine & Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate will dominate the wine and your head. Go for a tiny glass of Port and be done.
- Chardonnay & Ice Cream
- This pairing sounds great but it’s not worth the headache. A small glass of white dessert wine like Sauternes will do better.
- Syrah and Sweet & Sour Chicken
- A big, juicy wine with a sauce that dominates your mouth. You might as well finish yourself off with a cup of coffee, a glass of milk and a grapefruit.
- Burgundy & Lasagna
- The acidity in the cheese, tomato sauce and wine is enough to peel out the insides of your stomach.
- Viognier & Lemon Tart
- Viognier in all its delicate floral notes will be totally overshadowed by a dessert tart.
- Chardonnay & Chorizo
- Oh, we’re having Mexican food and I want a wine? Chardonnay will taste more flat and limpid against spicy ethnic foods.
- Merlot & Artichokes
- I hate to break it to you but, if you love artichokes, brussel sprouts, green beans and chard, red wine is not your bag. Look into brisk white wine, sherry and sparkling wine as a new favorite.
The Hangover Maker (Lust)
You just took a bath and want to indulge in all of your passionate cravings. The Hangover Maker wine and food pairing happens late at night when all your defenses are down. High sugar paired with alcohol is one of the leading causes of hangovers and wine headaches.
Simple advice can improve your wine-pairing genius. Learn the 6 basic flavors that chefs use to flavor match.
The Palate Destroyer (Wrath)
The quickest way to nuking your mouth. After a Palate Destroyer wine and food pairing, you’ll find it difficult to taste anything at all. All you need to do is turn up the volume on the 6 basic flavors of wine and food.
The Gut Punch (Gluttony)
The fastest way to make you hurt with overly rich food and wine. Typically, high fat foods and high alcohol or high acid wines are to blame. Small doses of The Gut Punch taste amazing but an overdose will have you agonizing over your helpless belly.
A roll of Rolaids couldn’t cure me after a fancy French wine tasting in San Francisco. Worst part: the group invited us to a fancy dinner at SPQR afterward. I don’t think I’ll ever look at fried Pecorino cheese the same again.
Anonymous, SF-based Sommelier
The Overshadow (Envy)
This may be one of the more common mistakes when pairing food and wine. The Overshadow wine and food pairing is something that great restauranteurs and sommeliers pay special attention to.
The “I Only Drink” (Pride)
You know the guy who only drinks Cabernet Sauvignon. Or that lady friend who prefers white wine because she swears red wine gives her a headache. The “I Only Drink…” wine and food pairing has them sized up.
What are you guilty of?