The Wine & Trader Joe's Food Pairing Guide You Didn't Ask For But Definitely Need

As you already know if you've been on the internet at all in the past couple of months, summer is the season of rosé — the pink wine that goes with all of your millennial-pink outfits and is socially acceptable to day drink as long as you shout "Rosé all day!!" every hour on the hour. But summer is coming to a close, and there's a whole big wide world of wine out there for us to explore.

Diving into wine (figuratively, not literally, though diving into a pool of sounds amazing) can be a bit daunting. How do I pronounce "Sauvignon?" Which glass do I use? And of course, which wine goes with what type of food? Although my general rule of thumb has been to pair red wine with red meat, and white wine with everything else, it turns out there is slightly more subtlety to it than that.

As helpful as tasting guides can be, they can sometimes be a bit vague and/or aspirational in their recommendations. I don't know about you, but I rarely have duck confit or beef bourguignon hanging around in my fridge. (Currently all I have in my fridge is yogurt and a half-empty jar of salsa.) It's helpful, when figuring out wine pairings, to have a specific product you can pair with a specific wine. And what better place to get a variety of flavorful, affordable food than the high holy site of millennial grocery shopping: Trader Joe's.

Check out what Trader Joe's product you should pair with different types of wines below, and get ready to sound like the most knowledgable, insufferable member of your friend group at your next dinner party!

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio and its close cousin, Pinot Gris, are light, crisp, acidic whites. Their taste has occasionally been compared to licking wet stones, but if you prefer to pair your wine with actual food and not a rock you found in the nearby river, Pinot Grigios generally go well with lighter foods that won't overwhelm them, like fish, shellfish, fresh herbs, pasta, and some cheeses.

This Mango Jicama Slaw with a mango lime vinaigrette, which TJ's describes as a "fiesta in a tub," will work well with a Pinot Grigio's blend of sweet and spicy notes.

Sauvignon Blanc

One of the most popular wines both in the U.S. and the Real Housewives franchise, Sauvignon Blanc is a dry, crisp white whose taste is often described as "grassy." It is a flexible, versatile wine that is lighter than Chardonnay, but can still hold its own against more pronounced flavors. Because of its own grassy, herbal taste, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with green vegetables, like asparagus, zucchini, and artichokes.

Sauvignon Blanc's green flavors would be a good compliment to this spelt risotto, "a rich, creamy, risotto-like dish, where spelt — the ancient grain also called farro — replaces the rice." The dish also features pumpkin, zucchini, and turnip greens.


Although Rieslings can be either sweet or dry depending on the region they come from. This variety makes them one of the most food-friendly wine varietals. Its acidity allows it to stand up to heavier meats, like ham and various charcuterie, and its sweetness makes it a good pairing for the spiciness of certain Asian, Moroccan, or Mexican dishes.

Its complex, refreshing taste makes Riesling a popular pairing for Asian foods, like these tofu and shrimp spring rolls from Trader Joe's.


The big mama of white wines, full-bodied Chardonnay often has oaky, spicy notes, and a rich, creamier texture than some of the lighter whites. It therefore matches well with rich, creamier foods, like cream and butter sauces, as well as chicken, turkey, pork, and veal.

But there is perhaps no better pairing for Chardonnay than a soft, creamy brie, like this Triple Creme Brie from Trader Joe's, which is decadent and indulgent, and should ideally be eaten while wearing a silk robe and fuzzy slippers.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a light-bodied, versatile red, whose low level of tannins makes it an accessible red for the wine novice. It pairs well with poultry, venison, warm spices like cinnamon and cloves, and earthy flavors like mushroom.

Its warm, earthiness makes it the perfect wine to pair with this Mushroom & Truffle Flatbread from TJ's, which has "a carefully crafted flatbread crust and features black truffles and porcini mushrooms, a savory sauce made with still more truffles and mushrooms, and creamy, whole milk, Italian-made mozzarella cheese."

The perfect pairing for a cozy night in front of the fire, or just eating in your bed watching Netflix.


The most popular red in the U.S., Merlot is a medium-bodied wine with dark-fruit flavors like blackberry and blueberry, as well as chocolate and even hints of tobacco. Thanks to its soft tannins, it is also rounder and lighter than some of the heavier reds.

Merlot is a good compliment to smoky, meaty flavors, like these Korean Style Beef Short Ribs, which, according to Trader Joe's, only take about 15 minutes to prepare: "just pop them on a grill — or grill pan on the stovetop — at medium-high heat, cook for a couple of minutes on each side and, you're done." Plenty of time to down a first glass of Merlot.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is also known as the king of reds. It's a big, dark red, with heavy tannins, that needs hearty flavors to stand up to it.

There is no better pairing with a Cabernet Sauvignon than a juicy, well-marbled steak, like this Trader Joe's Angus Rib Eye Steak.


Syrah has intense fruit flavors, and what has been described as an "aggressively meaty quality," but it works well with strong, firm cheeses, like white cheddar, or this Manchego cheese from Trader Joe's.