Have trouble learning how to pair the right food and wine together? There are a number of online tools that will help you get your pairings just right. These sites that have wine pairing guides, tools, and widgets that are helpful in your time of need. Do not worry if you do not know the exact wine pairing for your special dinner — it is not an exact science and if you end up “winging it,” it is not likely you will make the worst pairing, just one that may not be as good as you would like.
Here are five different websites that offer some helpful tools in figuring out which food and wines pair well together.
1. Nat Decants
Natalie MacLean is an accredited sommelier and talented wine writer. Her website, NatalieMacLean.com is filled with great information and resources for everything and anything related to wine. One of these is a wonderful wine matching tool that breaks down the food categories. When searching by what wine to pair with certain foods, the categories include specifics like fruit based dishes, spices and herbs, nuts, turkey dinner, eggs, and even breads. There is also a category selector for ethnic foods that will provide some guidance as well.
Although there is not an actual pairing summary per se, you can mouse over the wine glass to learn more about the specific varietal itself. One added benefit to this wine tool is the inclusion of both red and white pairing options in search results.
If you are looking for what foods pair well with a wine, just search by wines instead of food and you will get some history about the grape and a list of what foods pair best with it. I often use this for cooking inspiration if I am stumped on what to make. By choosing a wine and seeing what foods pair well with it, I often plan a menu based on ingredients or dishes listed there.
2. Wined In
Wined In is a community based collection of suggested wine pairings for specific food dishes. Although there are no actual recipes provided, there are some very detailed pairings included, like halibut with mango chutney or braised halibut with fennel and cherry tomatoes.
If you cannot find something suitable, there is a place where you can request a wine pairing and see if a fellow wine enthusiast will post a suggestion in response. Once you get the hang of wine pairing and are feeling confident, submit your own pairing suggestion to the Wined In database.
3. FoodTv Canada
This is the Canadian site for Food Network. FoodTv Canada has a wine pairing tool that is pretty helpful for basic food options, providing some more obscure wine pairings. There are expanded categories for seafood, poultry, meat, vegetables, cheeses, desserts, pastas, and even pizza/snacks.
Although there are not many options within each category, there are accompanying recipes with a very detailed explanation about the wine’s characteristics and the pairing summary itself. The pairing summary is very helpful in understanding why the food and wine pair well together.
4. E&J Gallo Winery
Gallo Winery’s website pairing tool is very simple, although not very customizable. It does provide more than one option for pairing, which is helpful.
Categories like chicken/pork/turkey are combined together as are pasta/vegetarian, etc. You can choose the spice or sauce, and your result will yield good, better, and best pairing options. Just note, the types of wines searched are only those produced by Gallo themselves, so the results tend to be a bit skewed if you were interested in a type of wine that Gallo does not produce.
5. The Wine Curators
The Wine Curators website has paid software options, but offers a limited free version of what you can purchase in their Personal Wine Curator cellar management system. The main difference is the inability to use two search characteristics under food, as that is an option only available in the full version. It’s still worth a mention since the free version has some pretty detailed options in the food category and the search results are expansive, including both Old and New World wines.