If one had to describe Polish food in a single word, ‘comforting,” might just be the word that comes to mind. Polish cuisine is hearty, rich, and heavy in meat. The flavor profiles range from lightly fermented and pungent (think pickles and cabbage; mustard, horseradish, and garlic) to spicy and herbal, to sweet and tart (sour cream, dill pickles, apples, and cranberries.) While the Polish menu is ever-changing due to influence from its neighbors, a lot of the traditional dishes hold true.
The Polish do not have a history of pairing wine with their meal, often preferring to have vodka or beer, but that does not mean you can’t have a nice glass of wine with your Polish dinner. Below we have a list of pairings for specific Polish dishes and some general recommendations to help guide your wine selection.
Best Red Wine to Pair with Polish Food
Polish cuisine has some bold flavors so you will want to choose a wine that will complement, not compete with your meal. A light to medium-bodied red will be a safe choice here.
- Cabernet Franc: medium body with tart fruit flavors, similar to Pinot Noir.
- Pinot Noir: always a popular choice: light, sweet red, high on aromatics.
- Beaujolais: also known as Gamay, light, low tannins.
- Lambrusco: a slight bubbliness with strong berry notes.
Best White Wine to Pair with Polish Food
White wines are a great match with Polish food. They cut through the rich dishes and go toe-to-toe with sauerkraut.
- Riesling: lightly sweet, crisp, and refreshingly acidic.
- Sauvignon Blanc: highly acidic, fruity, dry white with herb tones.
- Chardonnay: dry and buttery with moderate tannins and acidity.
- Viognier: Full-bodied white, aromatic with notes of peach and tangerine.
Pairing Wine with Various Polish Dishes
These pockets of stuffed dough are the quintessential Polish food. The fillings are numerous and can be anything from spinach to pork to fruit. A couple of can’t-miss wine pairings regardless of filling would be Riesling or Pinot Noir.
Pairing Wine With Kotlet Schabowy (Breaded pork cutlet)
This entrée is your classic breaded pork cutlet, similar to schnitzel. A light red like Pinot Noir or a Chardonnay will complement this Polish treat.
Pairing Wine With Golabki or Golumpki
Golabki are cabbage rolls stuffed with seasoned meat and rice in a light tomato sauce. A medium-bodied red—Beaujolais or Rioja—pairs well with this dish. You could also try a Rosé if you want something more acidic.
Pairing Wine With Bigos
Bigos translates to “Hunter’s Stew” and consists of various meats, cabbage, and sauerkraut. A Cabernet Sauvignon will enhance this hearty stew.
Pairing Wine With Placki Ziemniaczane
These potato pancakes are made from grated or mashed potatoes and butter. A light white like Sauvignon Blanc or a sparkling Prosecco will balance the richness and oily texture.
Pairing Wine With Kielbasa or Polish Sausage
An Alsatian Riesling or Pinot Gris are excellent choices with sausage. This is especially true when using condiments like sauerkraut and mustard.
Pairing Wine With Kolaczki
These delicious folded cookies are filled with fruit or sweet cheese. You will want a sweet wine to match the sweetness of these treats, so try a Moscato with the fruit variety and a Sauvignon Blanc with the cheese-filled.