No great dinner party is complete without a wine that perfectly complements the main course. If the invited guests to your party are more inclined towards a red wine, then you will want to ensure that the style you choose is in line with your meal. Your food may very well be perfectly cooked and seasoned, but without the proper win pairing, it can fall a little flat. Let’s look at some of the more popular red wine styles, as well as the types of food that they go best with. You can keep this is a handy little guide if you regularly have wine-loving guests over for dinner.



  • Cabernet Sauvignon – Quite possibly the most popular red wine on the market, and for good reason. Available in medium to full-bodied varietals, it is a wine that is pleasing to a wide variety of palates. As far as food pairings go, it is also quite flexible. It works well with heartier dishes such as lamb and roast beef, whilst also being a good choice for more sophisticated dishes, such as coq au vin.
  • Malbec – If you are planning on having a dining party that is a little more on the casual side, this Argentinian wine may well be the way to go. Malbec pairs wonderfully with grilled steak, making it a good choice if you plan on feeding your guests food off the barbecue.
  • Merlot – This is a very popular wine in the winter months, as it tends to pair very nicely with hearty casserole dishes. It should also be considered the red wine of choice if your main course consists of roast chicken, or perhaps even roast duck. It’s also a wine that will frequently be seen on the Christmas dinner table if turkey is being served.
  • Pinot Noir – There are a couple of very good uses for Pinot Noir at your dinner party, and it all begins with your serving up a cheese plate. If you plan on serving a selection of creamy cheeses to your guests, plan on having a nice bottle of Pinot Noir ready to go. This is another wine that also pairs nicely with turkey, making it perfect for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner parties.
  • Sangiovese – Dinner parties that have an Italian theme may well feature dishes that feature meat sauces. If that is indeed the case, then be sure to serve Sangiovese with the meal. This is a wine that is also good with higher end pizza offerings.
  • Shiraz – This is another full-bodied red wine that goes very well with grilled steaks and roasted vegetables. It’s a very nice wine to have around in the winter months, and would be a nice little after dinner wine to enjoy as you and your guests gather around the fireplace.

This is really just a basic guide to the red wine and food pairings you may offer up at a dinner party. Try tasting different food and wine pairings in advance of your dinner party, as you may find the exact match that will make you the host with the most.