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One of the most important considerations for any wine aficionado is what food to pair with a favorite (or new) bottle of red or white wine. Whether you’re crafting a 3 course meal at home for your loved ones on a special occasion or just in the mood for a glass to go with your favorite grilled chicken dinner… you will never regret taking a moment to match the right food to the right wine. 

The taste in the glass is only half of what a fine wine has to offer— by pairing it with the perfect food, you are able to bring out the full expression of the beverage and a symphony of flavors. But how do you craft this level of gustatory bliss at home? 

A general rule of thumb is to match the body to the style of food. Wine can be “light-bodied” (pinot noir), “full-bodied” (cabernet sauvignon) or anywhere in between. Whether the wine is light or “light-bodied’ or a bit heavier (full-bodied) has a big impact on what foods go best with that wine. Additionally, you want to think about “sweet” versus “dry.” And if you really want to be a wine and food pairing rock-star, you should incorporate the flavors and notes into your assessment as well. 

Lucky for you, we’ve pulled together a cheat sheet to speed up the process of selection and make sure you get a winning combination every time!


Sauvignon Blanc, particularly when we’re talking about wine in Nairobi, is the girl-next-door of wines. She is light and fun, has an approachable dry sense of humor (wink wink), and you can take her to any party because she can talk to everyone and anyone. This is a wine you definitely want to know how to pair correctly since you will come across it very frequently.

Cheese and nuts: Feta, goats’ cheese, and pinenut

Meats: Roast chicken and turkey

Seafood and fish: Lobster, oysters, scallops

Veggies and Fruit: Broccoli, asparagus, leeks

Herbs and spices: Chillies, chives, tarragon and coriander

Sauces: Leek and mushroom, citrus flavoured sauces

Desserts: Lemon Meringue


This full-bodied wine can really mix up your dinner party game and pairs nicely with a spectrum of delicious foods. Some (I’m looking at you California Chardonnays) are like the liquid version of a buttered croissant…I’m already drooling… Any quality wine retailer worth their salt should have a sizeable stock of this super tasty varietal. Here’s what to pair with Chardonnay.

Cheese and nuts: Asiago, Harvati, Almonds

Meats: Veal, Chicken, Pork loin

Seafood and fish: Halibut, Shrimp, Crab

Veggies and Fruit: Potato, Apple, Squash, Mango

Herbs and spices: Rosemary, Ginger

Sauces: Sweet BBQ, Spicy chutney

Desserts: Banana bread, Vanilla Pudding


Shall I compare thee, Torrontes, to a summer’s day? Thou smellest like a rose and also a geranium. This aromatic wine from Argentina will raise your international cuisine game and finally answer the million dollar question of “what on earth goes with sushi??” 

Cheese and nuts: Goat cheese, Mozarella, Toasted nuts

Meats: Smoked meats, Grilled chicken, Chorizo

Seafood and fish: Sushi, Sea bass

Veggies and Fruit: Mango, Pineapple, Mixed green salad

Herbs and spices: Marjoram, Basil, Garlic

Sauces: White sauce, Asian (Thai, Curry), Peanut

Desserts: Cheesecake, Tiramisu


At TWB Cellar Limited, we are avid followers of wine sales in Kenya. And we know that many of us in Nairobi particularly love sweet white wine. Enter the delicate and ever-so-sweet Riesling. This grape’s minerality (think of that salty beach air) and stonefruit notes are a perfect pair with some exotic fish and fowl. 

Medium to full bodied white wine

Aromas of: Apples, pear, peach, apricot, lychee, floral, honey, petroleum, minerals, chalk

Pairs well with

Cheese and nuts: Havarti, Gouda, Candied walnuts

Meats: Smoked sausage, Duck

Seafood and fish: Sea Bass, Trout

Veggies and Fruit: Apricot, Chili peppers, Pears

Herbs and spices: Rosemary, Ginger

Sauces: Sweet BBQ, Spicy Chutney

Desserts: Apple pie, Caramel sauce


Don’t be shocked if you can’t remember anything after a night with this one… It’s one of the oldest grape varieties and has been drunk as wine since the days of the Romans. It’s over 1000 years older than Cabernet Sauvignon

It is a light bodied, high acid red wine with aromas of cherry, blueberry, blackberries, strawberry mushroom earth, smoke, vanilla, oak, cola and coffee. I’m not sure if there’s any online alcohol retailer who doesn’t stock at least one Pinot Noir wine. Whenever you’ve got any of these foods planned, remember your Pinot Noir

Cheese and nuts: Goat Cheese, Brie, Walnuts

Meats: Lamb, Sausage, Fillet Mignon, Roasted Chicken

Seafood and fish: Tuna

Veggies and Fruit: Mushroom, Dry fruit, Figs, Strawberries

Herbs and spices: Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Clove

Sauces: Mushroom, Red sauce

Desserts: Crème brulee, white Chocolate


Romantics suggest the name Malbec comes from a French term designating gossip mongers. I didn’t say gossip is bad, it’s just casual conversation with some color and spice, right? This versatile wine doesn’t need aging to gain exceptional organoleptic qualities and its smoky aftertaste isn’t necessarily a result of oak aging. 

It’s a full bodied, medium-high acid red wine with aromas of blackberry, cherry, plums, and chocolate. Try not to serve any of the following foods without your Malbec. 

Cheese and nuts: Asiago, Romano, Gouda

Meats: Hamburgers, Duck, BBQ Pork, Ribs, Steak

Seafood and fish: Halibut, Shark, Swordfish

Veggies and Fruit: Sauteed spinach, Baked Potatoes, Blueberries

Herbs and spices: Rosemary, Black pepper

Sauces: Cajun, BBQ

Desserts: Chocolate, Banana pudding


Yes, it may not command the respect that tall and bold Cabernet Sauvignon often does, but it doesn’t command the same price tag either, often leading to a better quality-value ratio. A great go-to for newbies and experts alike. 

It’s a medium bodied, medium acid red wine with aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cherry, plum, vanilla, mint and oak. You’ll enjoy Merlot more when placed next to the following foods.

Cheese and nuts: Parmesan, Romano, Chestnuts

Meats: Grilled meats, Steak, Beef stews

Seafood and fish: Tuna

Veggies and Fruit: Caramelized onions, Tomatoes, Plums

Herbs and spices: Mint, Rosemary, Juniper

Sauces: Bearnaise, Bolognese

Desserts: Dark Chocolate, Berries, Fondue


Zinfandel has wings! Well, the grape has a “wing” which is like a second, smaller bunch growing off to one side. Whether fruity and jammy or spicy and elegant, Zinfandel is a hearty red with a wonderful pour.

Full bodied, low acid red wine with aromas of  jam, blueberry, black pepper, cherry, plum, boysenberry, cranberry, and licorice. Cheers to this Zinfully delicious favorite! Especially paired with the following foods.

Cheese and nuts: Ripe brie, Aged Cheese

Meats: Pork, Spicy sausage, Beef, Duck

Seafood and fish: Blackened fish

Veggies and Fruit: Cranberries, Grilled peppers ,Eggplant

Herbs and spices: Pepper, Nutmeg

Sauces: Spicy, Salsa

Desserts: Spice cake, Gingerbread, Carrot cake


Nice to meet you, Syrah! I hear you’re a ‘Princess’ in Arabic. Did I also hear somewhere that when I drink you, I probably won’t get wrinkles and my stress won’t kill me? That’s antioxidants, baby.

You’re full bodied with medium acid, and your aromas are of blackberry, blueberry, plum, cherry, smoke, black pepper, white pepper, leather, vanilla, chocolate and baking spices. What more can I ask for? Let’s have a glass and enjoy some food.

Cheese and nuts: Sharp cheddar, Roquefort, Hazelnuts

Meats: Roasted meats, Game, Spicy sausage

Seafood and fish: Salmon

Veggies and Fruit: Currants, Stewed tomatoes, Beets

Herbs and spices: Oregano, Sage

Sauces: Black pepper sauce, Red sauce, BBQ sauce

Desserts: Dark chocolate, Black forest cake


The man’s man of varietals. I imagine this grape hunting buffalo, catching fish with it’s bare hands, and cooking it all over an open fire while smoking a pipe. You don’t put this baby in the corner. The full-bodied, high acidity of this wine requires equally strong flavors to balance it out. Cabernet Sauvignon wants to arm wrestle with an equal. 

Cheese and nuts: Cheddar, Gorgonzola, Walnuts

Meats: Ribeye Steak, Beef stew

Seafood and fish: Tuna

Veggies and Fruit: Broccoli, Tomatoes

Herbs and spices: Rosemary, Lavender

Sauces: Brown, Tomato

Desserts: Chocolate, Espresso, Gelato

There it is! You complete and comprehensive cheat sheet for pairing wine and food. Next time you want to have a complete wine experience, ensure you are pairing it with the right foods.