Basic Wine Pairing Tips
Confronting a wine menu can be intimidating. Here’s some practical advice on how to choose the ideal wine pairing.

Wine-pairing menu

Dining in the finest restaurants at the destinations you visit is both a gastronomic and a cultural experience. It offers you the opportunity to taste typical dishes and at the same time try regional wines. However, dealing with the wine menu can turn out to be intimidating, and choosing the perfect wine pairing may seem like an impossible task. DINKtravelers offers you practical advice on how to choose the ideal wine for your dinner.

Pairing for Regional Foods

Choosing a typical dish in a destination is in itself a process of discovery since you need to prepare your palate for new tastes, textures and combinations. Our first strategy –and the most basic one– is to ask the sommelier to suggest the best wine for the dish you chose, within a certain price range you establish.

Wine Menu

Some menus separate lists of red, white and rosé wines, while others categorize them as sweet, dry and dessert wines. In the meantime, some divide them by region of origin. Remember that these last are usually cheaper and choosing them is, in general, environmentally friendly given that their production sites are close to their points of distribution.

Wine Intensity

Even though there are uncountable wine varieties, if you’re not used to drinking it, it’s probable that you’ll choose it according to its taste. Follow this basic classification of some wines that you’ll commonly find in a menu.

Red wines. From the softest to the strongest:

Pinot Noir – Merlot – Malbec – Cabernet Sauvignon

White wines. From the sweetest to the driest:

Moscatel – Moscato – Chardonnay – Sauvignon Blanc – Pinot Grigio


If you go on a business trip or you want to impress other dinner guests, strengthen your memory so that you can remember these wine-pairing recommendations.

Food and Wine Travel

Japanese food – Sparkling white wine

Salads and grilled vegetables – Sauvignon Blanc

Spicy food of Thai, Chinese and Mexican recipes – Moscato

Intense tastes of Indian or Moroccan cuisine – Pink wine

Italian and French food – Pinot Noir

Spanish charcuterie – Merlot

American barbecue – Malbec

Desserts – Moscato

Finally, we know that as soon as the waiter serves a little wine in your glass and invites you to taste it, you might feel tense. Even if this is a complex process and there are experts who train for years in order to be able to detect the different qualities of a wine, simply concentrate in enjoying the first impression of a wine’s aroma and taste. Does it possess an intense aroma and taste? Can you distinguish the aroma and taste of different fruits? Does it leave a pleasant aftertaste?

And, above all, don’t accept the wine they offer you if

  • It smells like wet newspaper

  • You ordered red wine but it has a brownish color and tastes like vinegar

  • You ordered white wine but it has a dark yellowish color and tastes like rotten fruit

Because reading is where the journey begins...
  • Choose the Perfect Pairing

    After you dine in Porto, order an Oporto wine, an excellent choice to pair with dessert.

  • Go on a Wine Tour

    If you love wine tourism, visit Vila Nova Gaia wineries.

  • Visits in Exchange for Wine-Tastings

    In most vineyards, when you visit the wineries they offer you a wine-tasting experience.

  • Drink Wine With an Exclusive Style

    Although tasting wine is done practically the same everywhere, follow the steps they teach you at each vineyard.

  • Don’t Mix Aromas

    It’s advisable not to wear any perfume on the day you’ll go on a wine-tasting tour. This way, external scents won’t mix with the wine’s aroma.

  • Ancient Denomination of Origin

    Oporto wine is one of the oldest wines with Denomination of Origin.