Pairing wine and food is an age-old practice.

The key is making sure the flavors and undertones in the wine you choose blend well with the foods on your plate.

While personal taste always comes into play, here are a few basic wine and food pairs to get you started:

Sauvignon Blanc pairs well chicken, turkey, pork chops, scallops, lobster, mahi mahi, goat cheese, feta, pine nuts, white pizza, spinach dip, ceviche, sushi, citrus-based or pesto sauces, Asian sauces, asparagus, green apples and for dessert, key lime pie or sorbet.

Chardonnay pairs well with veal, chicken, pork loin, lobster, crab, halibut, shrimp, asiago and havarti cheese, almonds, white pizza, ceviche, sushi, cream and pesto sauces, potatoes, apples, squash, mangos and for dessert, bananas and bread pudding.

Rieslings and Pinot Grigios pair well with smoked or spicy sausage, ham and duck, sea bass, trout, swordfish, Swiss and gouda cheese, walnuts, tuna tartare, ceviche, sweet and barbecue sauces, chili peppers, apricots, pears, and for dessert, apple pie.

Pinot Noir pairs well with lamb, veal, sausage, filet mignon, salmon, swordfish, goat cheese, walnuts, tuna tartare, baked brie, mushroom-based sauces, mushrooms, dried fruit, figs, strawberries and for dessert, creme brulee and white chocolate.

Shiraz and Syrah pair well with wild game, ribs, brisket, spicy sausage, barbecued salmon, sharp cheddar cheese, hazelnuts, pizza, barbecue chicken, pulled pork, barbecue sauces, tomatoes, beets, and for dessert, black forest cake or rhubarb pie.

Merlot pairs well with grilled meats, including steak, bacon, ahi tuna, Parmesan and romano cheeses, chestnuts, pizza, burgers, bolognese and bearnaise sauces, caramelized onions, tomatoes, plums and for dessert, dark chocolate or berries.

Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with grilled steaks, beef stew, venison, seared ahi tuna, cheddar cheese, walnuts, veggie pizza, burgers, rich tomato sauces, broccoli, tomatoes, black cherries, and for dessert, bittersweet chocolate or espresso.

Zinfindels pair well pork, beef, spicy foods, duck, blackened fish, aged cheeses, meaty/spicy pizza, burgers, cajun or other spicy sauces, peppers, eggplant, cranberries and for dessert, spice cake, gingerbread or carrot cake.

If you want more advice, turn to the pros. Food & Wine magazine offers a great guide to pairing that's worth checking out.

Contact M. Clare Haefner at chaefner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7551.

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