How to Pair Your Food and Wine Like a Pro

Lauren Powell

Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

We’ve said goodbye to the days of opting for the cheapest drop in the bottle shop and we’ve said hello to experimenting with wines of all varieties, taking note of our favourite wine regions, and learning our Malbecs from our Merlots. And now we’re about ready to take next step—matching our vino of choice with the most complementary flavours.

We enlisted the expertise of the food and wine pros at hospitality giant Keystone Group to find out how to do exactly that. Introducing one of the best chefs in the country and one of the most experienced sommeliers in town—Sam Bull, head chef of Gazebo, and Chris Morrison, head sommelier of Keystone Group. The duo have kindly spilled their culinary secrets for creating the perfect food and wine match—trust us, your tastebuds will have never been happier. Read on to learn how you can have one of your greatest dining experiences yet.

Sauvignon Blanc

Pair with… Burratta, peas, asparagus, sugar snaps, and gremolata.

Because… Sauvignon Blanc’s grassiness, herbal flavours, and crisp acidity suit the garden flavours of asparagus and snaps and cut the creaminess of the buratta.


Pair with… Ravioli, stuffed with cavlonero, pine nuts, goats cheese, grilled asparagus, orange olive oil, and grana Padano.

Because… The starchy richness of ravioli likes toasty oak driven flavours to match. Watch the oak as Cavlonero has a slightly bitter note that will be amplified by oak flavours.

Chenin Blanc

Pair with… Pecan crusted snapper, pea puree, snow pea tendrils, and green olive tapenade.

Because… Chenin Blanc carries the right amount of acidy and mouthfeel to match the nuttiness of pecan, the protein of the snapper, and the briny finish of the tapenade.


Pair with… Marinated chicken, avocado, strawberries, corn, butter lettuce, macadamia nuts, Persian fetta, and seeded mustard dressing.

Because… Sangiovese has savoury, acid lined flavours that soften with white proteins like chicken. But it’s the creaminess in the feta and the acidity in the dressing that makes the match.


Pair with… Chicken liver Parfait, fig chutney, pickles, and bread.

Because… Delicate in texture, but robust in flavour, a parfait suits the light fresh reds with low tannin and high in acidity—Gamay is a lock for this rustic farmhouse French classic.


Pair with… Duck breast, celeriac puree, raspberry, and cherry jus.

Because… A great deal of the fat in duck lies between the skin and meat. With the skin on and roasted, duck needs medium bodied red wines that have juicy flavours, soft tannins and a tight line of acidity to cut fat.


Pair with… Spiced Lamb back strap, cucumber and dill salad, and tzatziki.

Because… The gamey and slightly sweet nature of lamb loves wines with a medium to full bodied mouth feel and good concentrations of fruit and tannin.

Want to know more? Shop Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine ($35).

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