What's the best wine for any meal? The one you like. Scroll through Food Editor Julia Rutland's favorite combos for easy inspiration.
Recipe: Grilled Pacific Halibut with Rhubarb Compote and Balsamic Strawberries
Try it with: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Semillon
Julia loves: Gewürztraminer from Anderson Valley’s Navarro Vineyards, about $19
While halibut pairs well with many white wines and a few light reds, this recipe features a bit of sweetness with the strawberries and compote. Find a white with a touch of sweetness to match the dish.
Recipe: Sesame-Soy Salmon
Try it with: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, vin gris
Julia loves: Franciscan Oakville Estate Chardonnay, about $16, or Esser Vineyard Pinot Noir, about $14
Salmon is one of the easiest fish to pair wines with because it’s great with both white and red wines. Go for a buttery Chardonnay to match the richness of the fish, or a smooth Pinot Noir.
Recipe: Boiled Dungeness Crab with Fennel
Try it with: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, sake, brut sparkling wine
Julia loves: 2007 Greg Norman Estates Santa Barbara County Chardonnay, about $15
Crabmeat has an inherent sweetness. You don’t want to overpower its delicate flavor with a high-acid white wine or a mouth-puckering, tannic red.
Recipe: Grilled Split Lobster with Pesto
Try it with: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, brut sparkling wine
Julia loves: Matanzas Creek Winery’s Sonoma Valley Chardonnay, about $27
Both the lobster and sauce are rich, so go for a well-balanced Chardonnay, or an herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc that marries well with the pesto.
Recipe: Coconut Shrimp with Maui Mustard
Try it with: Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Columbard
Julia loves: J Vintage brut sparkling wine from California’s Russian River Valley, about $30
A wide variety of white wines (and beer, too!) will be great with this festive appetizer.
Recipe: Mussels in Tomato-Basil Wine Sauce
Try it with: Verdicchio, Pinot Grigio, or Bardolino
Julia loves: Donnafugata Chiarandà, Contessa Entellina DOC, Sicily, about $35
Absolutely not required, but consider pairing the ethnicity of the food to the wine.
Recipe: Clams with Prosciutto and Thyme
Try it with: Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling wine
Julia loves: Sauvignon Republic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, about $18
This dish has been one of my all-time favorites, so I pair it with a wine I enjoy drinking anytime.
Recipe: Tuna Tartare Blini
Try it with: Champagne, sparkling wine
Julia loves: Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle, about $105 (for a budget-friendly buy, try a value-priced Prosecco.)
I can think of nothing else I’d rather drink with this divine combination of melt-in-your-mouth tuna and caviar than a good bubbly.
Recipe: Broiled Oysters with Celery Cream and Virginia Ham
Try it with: Chardonnay, white Burgundy
Julia loves: Anderson’s Conn Valley Chardonnay, about $45
Bathed in cream and seasoned with Virginia ham, this dish needs a full-bodied white.
Recipe: Pan-seared Scallops with Asparagus and Pancetta
Try it with: Sancerre, Chardonnay
Julia loves: 2005 Domaine André Neveu Sancerre, about $30
Asparagus is often tricky with wine, but the combination of sweet scallops and salty/smoky pancetta will stand out with a medium- to full-bodied white.
Recipe: Simple Nori Rolls
Try it with: brut sparkling wine, Pinot Gris, sake
Julia loves: 2004 Iron Horse Russian Cuvée sparkling wine, about $33
If you pair wine with sushi, avoid wasabi. If you are a hothead when it comes to sushi, try beer.
Recipe: Crab and Coconut Risotto with Mango
Try it with: Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, dry Reisling
Julia loves: Wild Horse Viognier Central Coast, about $19
A dry white wine might taste a little flat with the sweet coconut and mango flavors in this dish. Try a fruity or aromatic white.
Recipe: Maryland Crab Cake Salad
Try it with: an herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier
Julia loves: Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, about $15
Ask for help at your local wine shop--in general, salads are tough to pair (it’s the acid in the vinegar).
Recipe: Nantucket Lobster Chowder
Try it with: Chardonnay
Julia loves: Bonterra Vineyards’ Mendocino County Chardonnay, about $14
This soup is rich and buttery, so pair a similar wine.
Recipe: Paella Cubana
Try it with: Albariño, red or white Rioja
Julia loves: Martín Códax Albariño Rías Baixas, about $14
This paella has plenty of cool spice, so go for a fruit-forward or semi-dry white.