Mediterranean food is known for its bold, herbaceous flavors and fresh ingredients. With everything from seafood to lamb, beans, vegetables, cheese, yogurt and of course, olives and olive oil, everyone is bound to find something they love and we have the wine recommendations to elevate your dining experience. There’s plenty of room for experimentation here, but we’ll give you some general rules to help ensure your meal is a success.
Best Red Wine to Pair with Mediterranean Food
Reds are best reserved for heavy, meaty dishes such as moussaka and gyros or lamb-based entrees. Dishes that are grilled or barbequed, or served with a hearty sauce can stand up to bold, full-bodied red. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Malbec; full-bodied, but low acidity with flavors of plum, blackberry and cocoa.
- Tempranillo; medium-bodied with high tannins, similar to Merlot.
- Shiraz; full-bodied with a robust, spicy flavor.
- Merlot; Medium-bodied with moderately sweet flavor.
- Grenache; floral with strong berry flavor and notes of citrus.
Best White Wine to Pair with Mediterranean Food
Whites are an excellent choice when dining on seafood, poultry and vegetable-based dishes.
- Riesling; It’s light, sweet, crisp and highly acidic.
- Rosé; bright acidity with strong berry flavor.
- Moscato; sweet and bubbly with notes of peach and nectarine.
- Chardonnay; dry and buttery with moderate tannins and acidity.
Pairing Food With Greek Wine
We would be remiss to discuss Mediterranean wine pairings and not talk about Greek wine varietals to expand your horizons. While largely overlooked and often underrated, the Greeks have been producing wine for centuries. There are many to try but here are just a few we recommend:
- Agiorgitiko (ah-gee-or-gee-tee-ko); velvety black cherry flavor, oak aged with medium acidity.
- Athiri (ah-thee-ree); crips white with notes of nectarine and lemon.
- Moscofilero (mos-ko-fi-ler-oh); a bright and aromatic with tangerine and peach aromas.
- Roditis (ro-dee-tis): Full-bodied, complex, with notes of apple and pear.
Pairing Wine with Various Mediterranean Dishes
A light to medium bodied red is a perfect accompaniment to souvlaki. We recommend a nice Grenache or Merlot.
This hearty lamb and eggplant casserole can hold up to a richer wine, as long as it’s not too robust. A Tempranillo will fit the bill here.
A spicy, light-bodied red is sure to please with this favorite Greek dish. You can’t go wrong with a Pinot Noir or Zinfandel with this dish.
This filo and spinach pie is rich, flaky and delicious. Pair it with a nicely chilled, buttery Chardonnay.
Dolmas Wine Pairing
Dolmas can vary by region, but are typically vine leaves stuffed with vegetables and herbs. You’ll want a wine that is somewhat sweet and acidic to pair with this Mediterranean staple. We recommend a Riesling or Rosé.
Couscous Wine Pairing
Couscous is a Mediterranean staple. It’s usually served as an accompaniment to a protein, but on its own it pairs nicely with a Rosé.
Paella is a delicious, complex dish and its ingredients can be plentiful and vary wildly from recipe to recipe. Here you’ll want to take your cues from the protein. Seafood paella is going to call for a rich white, such as Chardonnay or Viognier. For a dish containing duck or sausage, choose a lighter red like Tempranillo or Grenache.