Willamette Valley wines are pretty perfect for food pairing: they’re high in acid, relatively low in tannin and moderate in alcohol, meaning they’ll complement your food without overpowering it. Here are some guiding principles for making the most of the wine on your table.
- It’s not the protein, it’s the sauce. While “red meat with red wine, chicken and fish with white wine” has become conventional wisdom in the Western world, it’s actually the seasonings and sauces that are most significant when choosing an appropriate wine pairing. Consider whether you’re including a rich, creamy sauce or intense spice element when selecting wine, and be sure to mention it if you’re asking a wine professional for a recommendation.
- Branch out. While Pinot is a terrific wine for the table thanks to its versatility, don’t forget the other Willamette Valley grapes that love food: Gamay, Chardonnay, Riesling, and even Grüner Veltliner and Syrah are all wonderful pairing partners.
- Bubbles are your friend. Festive as sparkling wine may be, we hope you aren’t restricting your consumption to New Year’s Eve and anniversaries. The Willamette Valley has more sparkling wine than ever before, and it’s an obvious choice for year-round food pairing thanks to palate-cleansing bubbles and refreshing acidity.
- Don’t forget dessert wines! Our region has wonderful after-dinner sippers in many styles and from many grapes. If you haven’t tried pairing a late-harvest Riesling or Port-style wine with a slice of pie after a great meal, you’re missing out.
- Take a page from winemakers’ cookbooks. If you’d like to introduce a few new dishes into your routine, don’t miss our Community Recipes and Harvest Recipes sections on our website, with winery-submitted dishes tested on cellar crews and winemaking families.
Find recipes submitted by our wineries below. Scroll down for wineries offering food pairing experiences.