The Best Wines to Pair with Tropical Food #SundaySupper

Today, the #SundaySupper family of food bloggers features recipes made with tropical food or originating from the tropics.

I adore tropical flavors. They are among my most favorite foods.  Whenever I think of tropical foods the first thing  that comes to mind is a Jamaican Jerk.  In fact, my first #SundaySupper blog that featured both food I prepared and wine pairing recommendations was Jerk Turkey Burgers With Mango Slaw!

Here are some general guidelines for pairing wines with tropical foods:


I favor aromatic, refreshing whites with a bit of sweetness to provide balance. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Albarino, Torrontes, fruity Sauvignon Blancs (New Zealand is top of mind), Chenin Blanc, Viognier and white blends are all good choices.


I’d be the first to tell you red wines are not top of mind when it comes to pairing with tropical flavors, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable.  Looks for reds with prominent acidity moderate tannins and alcohol and buoyant fruit flavors.  Consider Pinot Noir for grilled fare, but Gamay, Grenache, and many Tempranillo are also fine choices.


Aside, from sparkling wines, rosés are the most versatile, food friendly wines in my book. They offer a harmonious combination of bright acidity, texture and appealing aromatics. Both dry and off dry, rosés can work with a diverse range of tropical flavors.  If your tropical dish is more sweet that savory look for a  rosé with a hint of sweetness.  There are wonderful examples of rosé being produced all around the world.  But for the best value, I tend to favor rosés Provence, and Rioja.

Heat and Sweet

A couple of other things to keep in mind when pairing wines with tropical food 1) the spiciness (heat) of your dish, and 2) the sweetness of the dish – especially desserts.

Spicy foods like sweet wine.  The spicier your food, the sweeter your wine should be.

And for desserts, you want your wine to be sweeter than the dessert.

The Best Wines To Pair with Tropical Foods #SundaySupper
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Check out  terrific tropical menu at the #SundaySupper table , along with my wine pairing recommendations (except for condiments and coolers).  My recommendations include wines from the U.S., Germany, France, and Italy

Pair these Tidbits, Pupus, Breakfast and Companions with a Rosé sparkling wine.  My “house’ (everyday) sparkling wine is the Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Rosé Brut. It’s a beautiful pale salmon color and packed with strawberry, cherry, peach and blood orange flavors, with a bit of sweetness that is complemented with a hint of herbaceousness.   

Tidbits and Pupus



Condiments and Sauces


Pair these main dishes with Riesling.  Look for the 2013 Josef Leitz Dragonstone Riesling from Germany.  It aromatic and off-dry with white peach, pineapple, apple and citrus character and a refreshing acidity that will prepare your palate for the next delectable bite!

Pair these dishes with a white Rhone blend.  One of my favorite is the 2013 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc.  It’s a well-balanced, juicy blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne with a tropical fruit, peach, lemon zest and mineral character.

Pair these main dishes with with Rosé.  A perennial favorite  of mine from Provence is the  2014 Commanderie de la Bargemone  Rosé.  It a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon that offers classic aromas of wild strawberries, red currant, and citrus. It’s dry, and fresh with ample strawberry, red currant and citrus flavors. 

Pair these main dishes with a Zinfandel.  Look for the 2012 Artezin Mendocino County Zinfandel.  It’s offers appealing red fruit, spice and vanilla aromas with juicy black cherry, plum, raspberry, baking spice, and a bit of pepper flavors with a supple texture.  Damned delicious!

Pair these desserts with a Cadillac, named for a little known village just south of Bordeaux that produces wonderful sweet botrytized white wines. It’s never reached the lofty status of Sauternes, just across the river.  The wines are typically made from Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes. Look for the 2009 Chateau Suau, Cadillac.  It a blend of 40% Sauvignon – 60% Semillon with a fruity, complex, and sweet peach and honey character with good acidity. 

Elevate these desserts by pairing with a sparkling red wine – Brachetto d’Acqui, from Piedmont region of Italy. It is produced from the Brachetto grape.  Look for Banfi Rosa Regale. It has delicate aromas of  rose petals, strawberry, and raspberries with  luscious raspberry, strawberry and a kiss of cranberry flavors. It’s off-dry meaning it exhibits ample sweetness when pairing with fruit based desserts,  and dark chocolate. 


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  1. As always, you’ve done a stellar job pairing up our Sunday Supper dishes with the perfect wine!!!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Liz! It’s always a pleasure to do so!

  2. Renee Dobbs says:

    You know I love your wine pairings. It is THE reference for me to go to when I want to try new wines or pair up a dish.

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks for the kind words Renee. I appreciate it! Hopefully you’re pretty good at pairing your delicious dishes with a glass of wine!

  3. I went with a rose from Provence with mine, but I’d happily remake it and try it with that Tablas Creek white blend!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks David! I adore Rose, especially from Provence, and I’m sure that paired well with your dish. If you haven’t tried TCV’s Rose (they have two a Patelin ~$20, and Dianthus ~$27 (Mouved based) that are both lovely!

  4. Stacy says:

    Some great choices, Martin! I must admit that I finally tasted a Riesling that I loved last weekend at a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs dinner, which makes me much more willing to give more of them a try, especially your recommendation. Thank you!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Stacy! I know that Riesling can be a love/hate wine, but when I want to white wine, and I’m not sure which to try Riesling is at the top of the list (along with bubbles) I hope you find more Riesling you enjoy!

  5. Interesting pairings! I generally enjoy something like a red zin or sirah with barbecue, but will give your suggestion of riesling some thought.

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks for the feedback! I appreciate it!

  6. culinarycam says:

    Thanks for this. Again with the Tablas Creek…okay!!! I get down there and get a few bottles!! 😉

  7. Great pairings. Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

  8. Soni says:

    Thanks for your terrific wine pairing ideas!Love getting to learn something new each time :)

  9. I always love seeing what pairings you come up with for Sunday Supper. Awesome, awesome tips for pairing with spicy and sweet foods. I’ll definitely keep those in mind!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Joy! I hope you get a chance to try your hand at some food and wine pairings!

  10. I would have never thought about a zin for my pork but I am totally down with that :) Now I have an excuse to buy some zin!!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Ha! Any excuse to buy some wine huh Bobbi! I down with that! Thanks for the kind words!

  11. hezzid says:

    I love your wine pairings! We just bought a case of the Rodeheaver you suggested to me this winter-love it! I see two wines on this pairing list that sound amazing. I hope my liquor store has them in stock!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Heather. I’m glad you’re enjoying the Roederer!

  12. Love the choices you have given for everyone’s pallet. I do adore wine.

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks! I hope you it sparks ideas for creating your own food and wine pairings!

  13. this was good advice on the red wine pairing. i agree it is an unusual choice, but it can definitely be done

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