Red wine and food.

Top Malbec Wine Pairings

Malbec is a lively, entertaining red wine with origins in France. However, you are probably more familiar with Malbec as a product of Argentina or Chile. Argentina is credited with “saving” Malbec wine as the environment and climate of Argentine vineyards is perfect for Malbec grapes and they flourish when planted there. France, and other wine regions like Napa Valley, still do produce Malbec wines, and many of them are excellent. Due to the different growing conditions and soil, the taste of Malbec wine varies greatly depending on the region in which the wine was produced. Argentine and Chilean Malbec wines are famous for their intensely fruity, luxurious Malbec wines while French Malbecs are more commonly referred to as earthy or green wines. Still, no matter what Malbec region you select a wine from, there are plenty of food options for Malbec pairing. Here are some of our very favorite, and most delicious, Malbec pairings.

Charcuterie Platter

Appetizers
Malbec can take you through your entire meal from appetizers and hors d’oeuvres to dessert despite the region. If you plan on serving a Malbec with a light, fruity taste, then you could prepare a traditional charcuterie platter or serve some smoky, cured beef as a starter. Cheeses that pair with all styles of Malbec include Manchego, Iberico, Taleggio and Cashel Blue. You can also serve with farmhouse cheddar or a mellow blue such as Stilton.

Lamb dish

Main Courses
This is where Malbec truly shines. There are so many options when it comes to pairing Malbec with your entree. Malbec is excellent red meat and darker poultry meat. It also pairs well with earthier flavors, like a brisket, as well. One of the most popular pairings with Malbec is lamb. Try lamb shanks, a lamb stew or a spicy lamb curry. Beef is another frequent choice of meat to pair with Malbec and you have virtually unlimited options. Serve Malbec with a juicy hamburger, a hearty steak or serve with a cozy roast beef. If you want to enjoy Malbec with a super simple dinner you can make with little preparation, consider serving spaghetti and meatballs of American style spaghetti bolognese. Another option for a beef dinner that requires a bit of prep but is easy to throw together at the last minute is steak fajitas. Use spices cumin, smoked paprika and garlic to further enhance this Malbec pairing.

Dark chocolate truffles

Desserts
There is some debate over whether or not Malbec pairs well with chocolate, but many seem to be of the opinion that chocolate is a great dessert when drinking Malbec. Some Malbec wines feature hints of cocoa and milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is not a great pairing with Malbec. Stick to darker chocolates, especially those with a 70% or higher cacao content. Dark chocolate truffles are also an excellent choice for a decadent dessert. If you are looking for something a bit more unique than chocolate, consider making a plum compote. This fruit concoction echoes the dark fruits found in Malbec. You can serve plum compote with a slice of cake, a dark chocolate ice cream or on it’s own with a bit of vanilla spiked whipped cream.

While Malbec may not be the first red wine you think of, it is a red wine that deserves your attention. Pairing Malbec is quite easy with a bit of imagination and this wine has the ability to carry you through and entire meal. Of course, the above are guidelines based on what flavors work best with Malbec wines, but the best pairing for you is one that you thoroughly enjoy. Have fun experimenting with bold flavors and different styles of Malbec wines to create the perfect pairing for you.

Spaghetti and wine

Resveralife Eat Well: Merlot Food Pairing Guide

The Merlot grape is the second most prominent grape variety in the world when it comes to planting. Second only to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is also the most consumed red wine in the United States. Often, what comes to mind when you hear the world Merlot are notes of red fruits, easy tannins, a velvety texture and a smooth finish. While it is often considered an “easy” drinking wine, Merlot can have concentrated, firm tannins that rival the best Cabernet Sauvignons. The majority of Merlot, however, is a lighter, fruitier wine that pairs well with a large variety of foods. Most Merlots feature flavors of:

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Currants
  • Black cherries
  • Plums
  • Cassis
  • Chocolate

Merlots may also have hints of black olives, cedar, licorice and tobacco. The type of Merlot you drink will largely depend upon the climate in which it was grown. Cool climates yield a silky, soft-tannin Merlot while warmer climates lean towards a full-bodied, acidic Merlot. While Merlot is a joy to drink on its own, Resveralife has put together some foods that help bring out and enhance the flavors of Merlot.

Cheese platter and wine.

Cheese
Truthfully, Merlot and cheese are not the best pairing. Merlot pairs better with meatier, more substantial foods. However, that does not mean you can’t pair Merlot with cheeses. Here are some well-paired cheeses for Merlot:

  • Camembert
  • Smoked Cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Smoked Provolone
  • Parmesan

Juicy hamburger and fries.

Main Courses
Merlot is a highly versatile wine and pairs with a number of dinner options from hearty vegetarian dishes to meals featuring red meat. One of the easiest food pairings is a classic, thick and juicy hamburger. If you prefer a cheeseburger, add some medium sharp cheddar to your burger. Another relatively easy to make dish is classic spaghetti and meatballs. Not only are the meatballs a great accompaniment to Merlot, but the tomato sauce cuts through the acidity of Merlot as well. You can also create a charcuterie platter that features an assortment of smoked meats.

For vegetarians and others who enjoy main courses that use vegetables as the center, there are multiple Merlot pairings that you can create. One of the tastiest vegetarian dishes is to create a vegetable red curry. The vegetables you choose are completely up to you, but some suggestions are eggplant, potato, and asparagus. Another great vegetarian pairing for Merlot is eggplant rollatini. This blends creamy, tomato based sauce and eggplant for a dish that seems made for Merlot.

Dessert and wine

Sweets
As a general rule when pairing food and wine, desserts are paired with dessert wines, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a Merlot with sweet foods. A fruit tray full of blackberries, red grapes, black cherries and plum is a perfect end to a meal served with Merlot. You could also serve Merlot with a creamy dark chocolate mousse topped with blackberries and raspberries.

Merlot is an incredibly popular wine worldwide and with the generous pairings the wine allows it is no surprise that people love to drink it. Experiment with Merlots produced in different climates for the full effect of what the Merlot grape is capable of. Remember that when it comes to wine and food, the most important rule to follow is to eat, and drink, what you like.

Sauvignon Blanc grapes being grown in a vineyard.

Resveralife Eat Well: Sauvignon Blanc Food Pairings

Sauvignon Blanc translates to “wild white,” and the grape is one of the most widely planted because of the variety and wide range of tastes and styles. The popularity of Sauvignon Blanc is largely due to the master winemakers in the Bordeaux and the Loire Valley, both in France. The grape has origins that trace back to the South of France. Sauvignon Blanc is mainly a dry wine, though there are some regions, such as California, that produce Sauvignon Blanc that leave just a gram or two of residual sugar for a texture that is richer. The most commonly associated fruit notes in Sauvignon Blanc are peach, passion fruit, lime and green apple but what really distinguishes this wine from other whites, such as Chardonnay, is the presence of greener flavors. Some Sauvignon Blancs feature notes of jalapeno, bell pepper and grass. It is these notes that put Sauvignon Blanc in a category of it’s own.

Sauvignon Blanc 
Because Sauvignon Blanc has interesting herbaceous tastes, this wine is excellent to pair with “green” food items as well.

Artichokes.

Citrus Sauvignon Blanc
For a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, asparagus and artichokes are an excellent choice. These vegetables can be hard to pair with other wines as they can leave a metallic finish, but they pair beautifully with Sauvignon Blanc featuring notes of citrus. Grill or roast with herbs like rosemary for a perfect, light accompaniment to your Sauvignon Blanc. Vegetables are certainly not your only option for a Sauvignon Blanc with citrus notes. Prepare some authentic fish and chips or grill some chicken with rosemary, thyme, basil and white pepper. If you prefer something with a bit more heat, consider pairing citrus Sauvignon Blancs with Mexican food. Avocados and tomatoes work perfectly with Sauvignon Blanc. Alternatively, you can go Greek and pair your Sauvignon Blanc with olives and feta cheese.

Fresh salad with green vegetables.

Herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc
One of the greatest features that Sauvignong Blanc has is it’s unique, earthy tones like grass or bell pepper. Enhance this taste by serving your Sauvignon Blanc with green foods. Salads are an excellent choice and provide virtually limitless combinations to pair with Sauvignon Blanc. Meats that pair well with Sauvignon Blanc include chicken, lobster and crab among many others. A simple grilled chicken with spinach salad and an herb vinaigrette makes for a wonderful meal. Another way to pair Sauvignon Blancs with green notes is to prepare a light meal of fish such as Halibut or Tilapia. If you don’t feel like cooking, call your favorite Japanese restaurant and order an assortment of sushi. For those who are a bit more adventurous, make your own sushi at home.

Sauvignon Blanc is a unique, complex white wine that features notes perfect for preparing summer foods. Prepare a great spinach salad for a daytime affair or have an ethnic feast with foods from Japanese, Greek and Mexican cultures. If you simply want to serve your Sauvignon Blanc with a bit of cheese, look for softer cheeses like goat’s milk cheese or creme fraiche.

The Shiraz sign on a post in a vineyard.

The Resveralife Eat Well Guide: Shiraz Food Pairings

Shiraz wine is a popular and very versatile wine. There are many different styles of Shiraz wine from intense smoky flavors to lush fruity flavors. The styles of Shiraz vary based on price, age and the region of origin. The Shiraz wine is more or less the same as the Syrah wine. It’s just that the most popular styles of Australia are known as Shiraz. The Australian Shiraz is a distinctive full-bodied red wine.  Australian Shiraz typically features fruity flavors, such as blackberry, and is a less tannic wine than other Shiraz styles. France’s Rhone Valley also produces a signature Syrah. The Rhone Valley Syrah is marked by it’s powerful smokey flavors with hints of black pepper. California Syrah is most closely associated with Australian Shiraz, as the American Syrah is a fruitier wine as opposed to the savory European Shiraz.

When selecting food to pair with a strong, savory Shiraz, such as the French version that elicits hints of bold spices such as black pepper, it is important that the food be equally bold in flavor. Shiraz does not pair well with highly acidic food or meats that are particularly fatty. Devise a main course with the idea of lean meats with strong flavors.

One of the best pairings for a Shiraz, fruity or savory, is brisket. Brisket is a Texas classic made from lean cuts of meat. There is, traditionally, a fat cap near the top of the brisket to add a bit of flavor and richness. The lean meat in brisket becomes a tough meat when grilled quickly. What makes this lean protein source perfect to pair with Shiraz is the rub used for the brisket. Think spices such as paprika, chili powder and black pepper. These spices help highlight the intensity of Shiraz wine.

Glasses of wine by the fireplace.

Another meat that pairs brilliantly with Shiraz is lamb. For an easy, but masterfully paired meal, season lamb with black pepper and salt. Add more complexity to the dish by using spices such as rosemary, garlic and a hearty olive oil. Alternatively, make a hearty lamb stew and pair it with Shiraz. Carrots, potatoes and onions pair nicely with the lamb and add substance to the dish. For the more adventurous, try a mildly spicy venison chili. Venison is a great lean meat to pair with Shiraz and works perfectly in place of beef in chili. As with the brisket, paprika and chili powder are excellent spices to use in a venison chili.

Shiraz, because it is so richly flavored, is not the best wine to select for a night of cheese and wine pairings. Shiraz can be paired with a strong or smoked Cheddar. For a Shiraz that leans to the softer, more fruity side, consider a mild blue cheese. Skip sweeter cheeses and focus on those with distinctive flavor to enhance the boldness of the Shiraz.

Grilled beef fillet served on black plate with chili and pepper.

Most typically, Shiraz is paired with lean proteins such as lamb, lean beef, venison or other game. Do not be afraid to add spice to the dishes chosen for Shiraz wine pairing. Shiraz wine is perfect for pairing with rich, complex spice combinations. Vine Vera recommends you to be creative and experiment with exciting flavors when pairing Shiraz wine with food.