Even vino virgins know you serve red wine with steak and white wine with fish, right? Perhaps traditionally, but not anymore. “Conventionality can sometimes be destructive to creativity,” says Charles Ford, sommelier and general manager at Daisies Chicago. “Creativity opens doors to what can work, and that’s what inspires so many sommeliers and wine drinkers in the first place.”
And, it turns out, some white wine can stand up to a T-bone and red doesn’t always overpower grilled tilapia. Some pros have been experimenting with these swaps for a long time, Ford says, and they’ve discovered what works, as well as a few blunders along the way. You don’t need to chance it yourself: Try these nontraditional wine pairings that experts say are actually perfect for each other.
White Wine With Steak
Try: Vinas del Vero La Miranda Garnacha Blanca
“There is always a huge potential for white wines to be paired with steaks,” Ford says. “Look at all the white wine-friendly food that steak is served with: potatoes in every way, creamed spinach, shrimp cocktail, the list goes on.” He likes this Spanish white because it’s perfect with any roasted vegetables or potatoes.
White Wine With Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Try: 2016 Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc, South Africa
“The body of the Chenin Blanc matches the pork, the richness of the wine complements the sweet mustard, and the crispness of the wine enhances the crispness of the apple slaw,” says James Tidwell, co-founder of TexSom and beverage manager at the Four Seasons, Dallas. And now you know to serve your sandwiches with apple slaw.
White Wine With Pasta and Red Sauce
Try: 2015 Beronia Rueda Verdejo
“Verdejo is known for its crisp and refreshing flavors of stone fruits and fresh herbs,” Ford explains. “Use those characteristics to play on the bright acidity of a San Marzano tomato sauce.”