Fine Wine Brentwood is what the Duck Blind is all about. At the Duck Blind Fine Wines and Spirits, the crew is often asked about pairing food and wine. It’s not as complicated as it seems. White with Fish, Red with Meat, right? Not necessarily.  The first rule to remember when matching food and wine, is that there are no rules, only guidelines.  If you eat and drink what you like, you won’t go wrong. If you’re unsure, or would like guidance or suggestions, don’t be afraid to ask! The friendly crew at The Duck Blind in Santa Monica are always happy to help!

  1. Personal Preference: Serve wine you would drink regardless of food.  If you don’t like the wine before dinner, you probably won’t like it with dinner.  If rich red wine doesn’t appeal to you or you dislike buttery, oaky Chardonnay, it doesn’t matter if you’re serving lamb chops or sea bass.
  2. Flavor: Think about the strongest flavor in the dish. Is it rich and savory, peppery, citrus, sweet? Then think about the dominant flavor in the wine.  This is common sense: a rich, full-bodied wine (red or white) will likely go well with a rich, savory dish; a wine with peppery finish will compliment a spicy meal; a wine with a dry, acidic taste might make a dish with a light, citrus sauce sparkle.

Here are some examples of pairings… Red Wine Pairings:

  • Slow-Cooked Rack of Lamb and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Grilled Salmon with Olive Butter and Orzo and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
  • Penne with Bacon, Swiss Chard, Jack Cheese and Pecans and Washington Syrah

Rose Wine Pairings:

  • Tuna and Egg on a Baguette and Tavel Rose
  • Vegetable Soup and Cotes de Provence
  • Bouillabaisse with a Spanish Rose

White Wine Pairings:

  • Chicken Tostadas and Vouvray
  • Vietnamese Steak Salad and Gewurztraminer
  • Avocado, Tomato and Spinach Crepes with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Pairings

  • Smoked Salmon and Caviar and Brut Blanc de Blancs
  • Chicken Liver Pate and Nonvintage Brut Rose Champagne
  • Summer Melon Salad and Prosciutto and Prosecco
  1. Balance: Consider the “weight” of both the food and the wine.  Again, this is common sense. “Heavy” wines are higher in alcohol; heavy foods are higher in fat.  Wines with lower alcohol are “lighter”, and pair well with light dishes. If the dish is in a thick, heavy sauce, a  light, low alcohol wine will be overwhelmed.  A light meal or Hollywood Bowl box will be complemented by a lower alcohol wine – whether red or white.  Meat in a rich heavy sauce, or even a salad with a heavy Roquefort dressing will stand up well to a robust Cabernet.

Examples of White Wines, from Light to Heavy: Light:

  • Orvieto
  • Pinot Grigio (e.g. Italy)
  • Prosecco

Light to Medium

  • Chenin Blanc, dry or off-dry
  • Pinot Gris (e.g. Alsace, Oregon), dry or off-dry
  • Vouvray, sec or demi-sec

Medium, with Herbal Notes

  • Bordeaux, white
  • Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé
  • Sémillon

Medium with Mineral Notes

  • Albariño
  • Cava
  • Champagne and other dry sparkling wines
  • Chablis (or other unoaked Chardonnay)

Full / Heavy/ Creamy

  • Burgundy whites, Côte d’Or
  • Chardonnay (e.g. California or other New World, oaked)
  • Rhône whites
  • Viognier

Examples of Red Wines, from Light to Heavy Light

  • Beaujolais (or other Gamay)
  • Dolcetto
  • Valpolicella (not Amarone)

Medium

  • Barbera
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Grenache
  • Pinot Noir

Medium to Full

  • Bordeaux
  • Brunello di Montalcino
  • Malbec (e.g. Argentina)
  • Merlot
  • Zinfandel (also Primitivo)

Full Bodied/Heavy

  • Barolo and Barbaresco
  • Cabernet Sauvignon (e.g. California, other New World)
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Shiraz/Syrah

Examples of Sweet Wines, Light and Heavy Lighter

  • Gewürztraminer, late-harvest
  • Moscato d’Asti
  • Muscat
  • Riesling, late-harvest
  • Rosé, off-dry

Heavier

  • Australian Muscat or Muscadelle Banyuls
  • Madeira (Bual or Malmsey)
  • Port

If you’re looking for Fine Wine Brentwood, come to the Duck Blind!