fbpx How to choose your wine for dinner: choose the sauce first!

what wine to pair with what sauceHow to choose your wine for dinner: choose the sauce first!

Pair wonderful wines with sauce selections for a taste explosion

As we’re in the second week of National Sauce Month, I thought I’d write about how to choose your wine for the sauce accompanying your meal. You see, most people select the wine based upon the type of meat or fish they are eating. Considering the sauce first puts a refreshing spin on making your wine selection.

Why select wine based on the sauce?

The sauce that accompanies your meal may be the most important aspect of the meal. The wrong sauce can ruin a main course. Even Oliver knew that food, glorious food required a pairing of hot sausage with mustard, and cold jelly with custard.

I suspect that you, or one of your dining companions, has spent several moments deciding between the choice of pepper, mushroom, or blue cheese sauce when ordering a steak. Why not select your wine to pair with the sauce, instead of the meat? That way you get all three components working in harmony.

Wines that pair well with white sauces

White, creamy sauces work well with a variety of wines. Here are a few suggestions:


Wine Pairing

Yoghurt sauces

Grenache or Rosé

Peppercorn sauce

Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon






Bordeaux or Cabernet


Wines that pair well with green sauces

Green sauces? We’re talking about sauces such as mint, chimichurri, and garlic and rosemary.

With these sauces, pair with a bolder red with hints of fruits. A Malbec or Monastrell is perfect. However, for dishes with higher garlic or onion tastes, consider a medium red with more acidity – perhaps a Côtes du Rhône.

Wines that pair well with brown sauces

No, I don’t mean HP sauce or Daddy’s. They would come under tangy sauces!

Brown sauces include red wine sauce, Bordelaise, and poutine. For these, some of the earthy reds from North Italy or, once more, a Bordeaux will complement the dish served.

Wines that pair well with tomato-based sauces

Tomato-based sauces such as Espagnole and Marinara pair exceptionally well with medium-bodied reds. The two acidity levels (the wine and the tomato) work well together. Which wines should you select? Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, and Bardolino are favourites.

Wines that pair well with tangy sauces

OK, we’ve all got a favourite tangy sauce. Daddy’s brown sauce, BBQ, hoisin…

The tanginess is often created by the fruit, so pair with a fruity red. A Lambrusco, Shiraz, or Zinfandel, perhaps. And here’s anther tip: a sparkling Rose Cava works superbly with all tangy sauces, but especially spicier beef dishes.

You may have a favourite wine. You’ve probably got a favourite dish. They may not necessarily bring out the best in each other. When you dine out, ask the maître d’ for their recommendation – you may be surprised to discover the difference it makes to your dining experience. To book your table, call us on (+34) 600 01 28 24

Yours in fine dining,



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