BC Wine & Food Pairings

Tips for Your Wine and Food Pairing

  • Intensely flavoured foods need intensely flavoured wines
  • Acidic foods need higher acid wines
  • Sweet foods need to be paired with a wine that is at least as sweet or sweeter
  • Avoid tannic wines with oily fish or hot spice
  • Pair off-dry to sweet wines to help counteract spice heat
  • Well salted meats make red wines taste less tannic and softer
  • Crisp acid whites pair well with salty food
  • Pair crisp acidic whites with fatty or deep fried foods

BC Wine & Cheese Tips

Tips for your Wine and Cheese Tasting 

The wine and cheese experience is unique to each person and each palate. Whether they’re complementary or contrasting, mild or intense, each of these combinations is a perfect taste experience. Here are some guidelines
  • Visit the Wines of BC Explorer App for your personalized perfect pairing recommendations.  Filter by meat or flavour or select your cheese type.
  • When offering three separate BC VQA Wine and cheese pairings, start with the milder cheeses accompanied by lighter wines then move to stronger cheeses and more full-bodied varietals.
  • Sparkling and sweet wines are best served well chilled.
  • Light and medium-bodied white and rosé wines are best served chilled.
  • Full-bodied white wines should be lightly chilled.
  • Light-bodied red wines are best served at room temperature or lightly chilled.
  • Medium and full-bodied red wines should be served at room temperature.
  • Brie and camembert style cheeses make the perfect pairing for Sparkling wines and Rosé, having the unique ability to cleanse the palate; creating a balance between the creaminess of these cheeses and the acidity of these wines.
  • The complex flavour found in some of the firm and washed-rind cheeses works well with Pinot Noir which is known for its lighter body, fruit-forward characteristics and earthiness.
  • There is a cheddar for every taste ̶  from mild to sharp, fruity to nutty and firm to crumbly. Full and medium-bodied red wines such as Syrah and Merlot pair well with aged cheddars.
  • Blue cheeses pair wonderfully with sweeter wines such as Port style, Late Harvest and Icewines.
Cheese info provided by David Beaudoin, The Canadian Cheese Ambassador.


green circle icon PINOT GRIS

Very adaptable with the structure to stand up to Asian, Oriental and Latin flavours. A perfect anytime choice.

green circle icon CHARDONNAY (OAKED)

Rich dishes with butter or cream sauces. Nice with chicken, crab, white fish, salmon, scallops and veal.

green circle icon GEWÜRZTRAMINER

Its intense, exotic aromas and flavours seem ideally suited to spicy cuisines from China to Thailand to India, and it stands up equally well to the fruitiest salsas and smokiest grilled and barbecued flavours of contemporary North American cuisine.

green circle icon PINOT BLANC

These white wines are light-bodied and dry, with delicate acidity and subtle aftertaste, making them great to serve with lighter fare. Typical characteristics include fresh orchard aromas, distant nuances of sage or dried herbs, green apples and citrus notes.

green circle icon RIESLING

The most fruit-driven examples take well to barbecued or smoked foods and a wide variety of fruity and subtle spicy flavours. Sweeter Rieslings can also handle chili heat.

green circle icon SAUVIGNON BLANC

It is excellent with shellfish or light, subtle dishes or, in its oak-aged versions, with richer fare.


purple circle icon CABERNET FRANC

BC versions are outstanding and very versatile food wines. Try it with roast chicken, pork, roasted or grilled, beef, duck, sausage, lamb, veal, hearty fish dishes and even hard or soft cheese.

purple circle icon CABERNET SAUVIGNON

Cabernet Sauvignon stands up beautifully to virtually all red meats, whether served simply with “jus” or rich, reduced sauces. Fine, older Cabernets are excellent accompaniments to special occasion meals, while younger ones match simpler fare.

purple circle icon MERLOT

Merlot pairs well with red meats. It has the weight and fruit to match wine-braised stews and roasts, and the structure and polish to pair with rare, grilled prime cuts.

purple circle icon PINOT NOIR

Pinot Noir’s greatest strength is its suppleness. Without the hard tannic structure found in many red wines, it pairs effortlessly with a wide range of foods—from fish through game birds to grilled beef and lamb. Don’t overwhelm its gentle fruits and refined complexity with strong or spicy flavours; simply prepared dishes are best.

purple circle icon GAMAY NOIR

Gamay is a cousin of Pinot Noir so you can try it with foods that pair well with Pinot.  Try lighter and medium bodied dishes, especially those with some acidity.

purple circle icon SYRAH / SHIRAZ

Syrah/Shiraz has a unique peppery, spicy quality that makes it perfect to pair with robust meat dishes including peppercorn steak and braised lamb shanks. For the adventurous, try pairing it with a slightly spicy ethnic dish such as Mexican mole or lamb korma.



The most versatile of all wines! Appetizers, caviar, eggs, fried food, oysters, popcorn, salty food, smoked salmon, sushi – almost anything goes, but never stronger than the wine itself.


Like sparkling wines, Rosé wines are all-around crowd pleasers these days.  Charming on their own (particular during patio season) or paired with a variety of dishes, try pairing a dry Rosé with antipasto platters, melon and prosciutto, cheese platters, pizza, salad niçoise, roast turkey or chicken.


When pairing Icewine or Late Harvest, remember that the wine should be as sweet or sweeter than your dessert, and that sweetness cuts through fat. Feeling saucy? Try drizzling some Icewine over your ice cream. Adventurous? Pair with a salty or spicy appetizer.


Visit our Taste & Terroir blog to learn more about BC VQA Wine pairings for occasions all year round.


Download the Wines of BC Explorer app, take the test then enjoy personalized recommendations on the best BC wine for your taste buds. It’s FREE to download.


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VISIT your local liquor or Save On Foods store (BC VQA stores) and get ready to EXPERIMENT and have FUN while indulging in A BC VQA WINE Pairing experience.