Top Food and Wine Pairings


Inspired by John of Loxton Cellars, who posted his ten top wines of all time if money was no object recently, I am putting together by own list of top wine and foods pairings that I've experienced. Lately. Except, I'm going the Hi-Fidelity route, i.e., half-assing it and choosing my top five experiences. It's tough trying to pick amongst your babies. I love none of you any less.

1.    Tomatoes and Wine
Maybe this pushes my list to six, but I couldn't choose between a young Burgundy that I had with Zachary's deep dish, sausage and pepperoni pizza, and Barbara and tomatoes, any way, any day. Way to go, high acidity, meaty wines and sweet tomatoes and cheese.

My favorite Burgundy for pizza pairing:
2005 Perrot-Minot Bourgogne Rouge “Vielles Vines”

My notes on pairing Barbera with Tomatoes:

2.    Herbed Aioli and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

I admit that a grassy, guava-bomb is not always my cup of tea, but with an herbaceous olive oil and garlic emulsion, few things are better than a spunky New Zealand sauvie.

A step-by-step herbed aioli recipe included on my blog, Vin de la Table, and the somewhat reserved Sauvignon Blanc that I choose to accompany this luscious sauce:

3.    Crottin de Chavignol and Sancerre, Chavignol

Regional cheese and wine pairings always have a special place in my heart, and those that originated in France's Loire Valley top my list. In the following link I reveal my Chavignol and Sancerre dreams (a Sancerre from the tiny Chavignol appellation naturally edged it's way in), but I'm nearly just as happy when sipping other cheese and wine matches from the same region.

The cheese and wine suggestions:

4.    Sparkling Wine and Potato Chips

High acidity, bubbling wine and crispy, salt-studded fried potatoes? Oh my god. Enough said. From Champagne to Lambrusco, I support bubbles and fat. Check out some serious research:

5.    Chenin Blanc and Almost Anything, Especially Spicy Anythings

Chenin Blanc is a magic grape. Like it's aromatic friend Riesling, it comes in many shapes, flavors, sugar and mineral levels, and in ranging acidities, all perfect for pouring into my glass. In all the ranges it comes, Chenin Blanc just might be my favorite white for food and wine pairing. Except for all of the others, of course.

An ode to Chenin Blanc (Three of my top Chenins listed):

I just realized that this top five is nearly all white. Hmm… I may have to go for ten next time and make sure that reds don't feel left out.

What are some of your top pairings of all times?

Kirstin Jackson Ellis works as a wine bar manager and wine and food consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes about wine and food pairing at Vin de La Table, her luxurious and lighthearted blog.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: oceank8
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    55708 2,030

    You have definitely made me hungry. Pizza and potato chips, two of my favorite things. Although I often drink red wines with pizza, I can't say I've ever had Champagne with potato chips. Think this gives me an excuse to eat cruddy food and drink tonight - THANKS!

    Aug 19, 2008 at 6:35 AM

  • Snooth User: Kirstin
    46671 68

    Any time you need an excuse to drink and eat fried foods, let me know.

    Aug 19, 2008 at 8:11 AM

  • Snooth User: John Andrews
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    36106 3,448

    I can honestly say that this is the first time someone has referenced me as an inspiration for anything written. I am flattered! ;-)

    Having said that, I am truly intrigued by the Sparkling Wine / Potato Chip pairing. My typical paring for Potato Chips is a soda like Coke. So I guess it makes sense to pair sparkling wine … maybe a demi-sec would work best for me.

    Loved this blog Kristin.

    Aug 20, 2008 at 1:05 AM

  • Snooth User: Mark Angelillo
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    2 5,324

    Kirstin you just reminded me about Chenin Blanc — I haven't had any in far too long. Thanks!

    Aug 22, 2008 at 1:48 AM

  • Snooth User: oceank8
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    55708 2,030

    Yeah, I never get that weight thing either. I went to a wine pick up party the other night and think I put on 10 pounds just looking at the cheese plate we ordered! BUT, it was all worth it - very tasty! (I love free wine club events!)

    Aug 22, 2008 at 9:26 AM

  • Snooth User: Philip James
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    1 12,575

    Kristin - how come many gourmands (such as yourself) are stick thin? If i dared to dream about what my ideal pairings would be, i'd clearly go and start munching through the list.

    However, now i feel i can do it, as i'm stuck in a hotel with iffy room service…

    Champagne and marzipan!

    Thai curry with reisling!

    Alsation rose of Pinot Noir (alsation pinot only, though - the ultra deep almost red kind) with a ham and cheese baguette!

    Port and cheese (any really, but blue ideally)

    Aug 22, 2008 at 12:18 PM

  • Kim - Easy French Food

    It is so funny you wrote about potato chips, I've been wondering. Perhaps a ham sandwich? Your suggestion is worth looking into Anyway, champagne goes with everything if you just skip the food part.

    Aug 22, 2008 at 12:44 PM

  • Snooth User: Kirstin
    46671 68

    Philip: Definitley have never considered myself stick thin!
    Champagne and marzipan? I'm trying it!
    Kim: I think you and Philip have similiar pairings in mind, I'd be happy having a “jamon et fromage” sandwich with a Pinot Noir from Alasce, or a champagne. Better yet, how about a sparkling rosé of Pinot Noir from Alasce?
    OceanK8: I think that cheese plated arrived before I did. Damn.
    Mark: Any time is a good time for Chenin.

    Aug 25, 2008 at 3:36 AM

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