Pairing White Wine: Fresh and Crisp

Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling can have similar elements from bright acidity, fresh, tart fruit and lower alcohol falling into in the Fresh and Crisp style.  With fermentation typically occurring in stainless steel tanks, the grape varietals’ natural flavors are allowed to take center stage (remember the term “primary flavors” and “primary aromas”).  To highlight and enhance these primary flavors and aromas, similar food pairings are recommended for these varietals and provide great options whether choosing wine for yourself or recommending wine to others.  Let’s explore.

Fresh and Crisp

Dry / High Acid / Just Ripe Fruit / Low Alcohol / Minimal Influence

Chardonnay:   In cooler areas where the grapes ripen later with lower sugar and higher acidity, wine is likely fermented in stainless steel tanks with limited influence from processes which can significantly change the flavor of the wine.  This results in crisp, fruit forward wines that are much lighter, lower in alcohol but have bright acidity.   Lighter wines pair perfectly with lighter foods and simple preparations.  Heavy sauces or spices will overwhelm the wine flavors and aromas rather than enhancing its great nuances.   Sauvignon Blanc:   Crisp, fresh sauvignon blanc, with little to no oak or lees influence can be magical when paired with seafood, light white meats seasoned with herbs, roast vegetables and creamy to salty cheese, especially feta and goat cheese.    Thai cuisine with basil and lemongrass seasoning enhances the herbal nature of this varietal.  Think green vegetables as well for nicely paired side dishes.
Pinot Grigio:   Pinot Grigio is the lighter, brighter and more acidic of the family.  With no oak aging, it pairs great with seafood and white meats, especially when citrus or garlic is used in the preparation.  The acid also balances fatty and oily foods such as fried fish or calamari, marinated olives, most condiments and dressings as well as cheese.  Highly versatile, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most asked for wines today.  

Riesling:   Lighter riesling aligns well with the other featured varietals having high acidity, just ripe fruit flavors and lower alcohol.  As with Sauvignon Blanc, this wine’s uniquely aromatic flavors make Riesling ideally suited for spicier asian cuisines which may overpower other light, crisp white wines.    Riesling’s super high acidity allows it to cut through fatty, salty, gamey meats so don’t shy away from pairing it with pork belly or goose.  

Food Pairings:

Light Seafood, shellfish and sushi or sashimi

Grilled Chicken and Pork

Pastas or grains with vegetables and light sauces (not red)


Creamy cheese

Key Words: Fresh, crisp, dry, light, bright, tart, citrus, ripe, friendly, green.