Foods That Are Difficult to Pair with Wine

Sushi pic


A graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Erol Onel serves as the vice president of Heron Therapeutics in La Jolla, California. In his free time, Dr. Erol Onel maintains a passion for finding the perfect food and wine pairings. While there are several common food and wine pairings, there are some foods that have very few, if any, good wine pairings. Some of these challenging foods include:

Chocolate. Chocolate is a complicated food to pair with wine because it features a bitter and acidic flavor, along with strong natural tannins. Further, the wide variety of chocolates and the ways in which they are used make for a confusing mix of options. In most cases, port is the best wine to pair with chocolate because it compliments chocolate’s sweetness and texture.

Asparagus. Featuring a grassy and vegetable flavor, asparagus is notoriously difficult to pair. Steaming the asparagus makes pairing the food a bit easier because it removes the harsh vegetable flavor that complicates most pairings. However, not every dish calls for steamed asparagus. Regardless of how the vegetable is prepared, white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc are best.

Sushi. Due to the combined flavors of raw fish and seaweed, sushi does not work well with most common wines. Red wine doesn’t work with sushi because the combination of oil from the fish and iron in the wine creates a metallic aftertaste. White wines, particularly those that are extremely dry, pair best with sushi.


Unusual Wine and Food Pairings That Work


Shiraz pic


A vice president at Heron Therapeutics, Dr. Erol Onel has spent the past decades working as a pharmaceutical physician. Over the years, he has worked in all phases of clinical development and maintained a track record of success with various regulatory authorities. In his free time, Dr. Erol Onel loves wine and good food, and he enjoys finding the perfect food and wine pairings. There are several wine and food pairings that are tried-and-true favorites. However, there are also plenty of unusual pairings that work just as well. Below are just a few pairings that may surprise you.

Shiraz and fish. Traditional pairings match shiraz with beef, but it also works alongside certain fish. Fish that are heavy, dense, and oily are ideal for this pairing because shiraz has a spicier, less dense taste.

Lambrusco and cold meats. Well-produced lambrusco features a light, bubbly taste that is refreshing on summer days. When paired with cold meats like salami, the wine’s flowery and fruity aromas provide a perfect balance with the meat’s natural fatness.

Dry rose and sushi. Most sushi is very difficult to pair with wine. The dish is slightly sweet, a bit salty, and delicate when made with raw fish. However, dry rose works well with the food because it’s light flavor doesn’t overpower the flavor of the sushi.

Beaujolais and oysters. Many traditionalists do not care for this pairing, but those who are more adventurous may enjoy it. Despite being a red wine, the lightweight and fresh flavor of a beaujolais complements the salty taste of oysters well.