Wine and Food Pairings


Meet Christina Blanco, Bottleneck’s Vice President of Human Resources, who just so happens to boast a level 2 sommelier expertise. Christina let us in on a treasure trove of her top-notch wine pairings, along with handpicked recommendations that will elevate your wine game. So, if the thought of randomly choosing a bottle feels like throwing a dart at a board, fear not – Christina’s got your back.


Pinot Noir

Typically light-to-medium-bodied, Pinot Noir leans to the acidic side. Often described as complex in flavor, this wine’s notes/flavors tend to include cherries, raspberries, vanilla, florals, and hints of earthiness.

Perfect Pairs: Because of its bright acidity, Pinot Noir pairs best with gamey meats, anything with a rich sauce, and mushrooms. For a cheese pairing, consider Brie, Camembert, or Manchego.

Christina’s Pick: My favorite New World red of all time is “Clark & Telephone” by Belle Glos which retails in the $40-50 range. If you’re looking for something a little more “easy drinking,” I suggest going with La Crema’s Pinot Noir which retails in the $20-25 range.

Bottleneck Menu Pairing: Top Sirloin (Sweetwater) or Pork Chop (City Works, Old Town Pour House)


Pinot Grigio

A simple and bright white, Pinot Grigio is considered an “easy drinking” wine that is light-to-medium-bodied, flavorful, and refreshing. The most common notes in this wine are apples, pears, peaches, citrus, honey, and minerals.

Perfect Pairs: Seafood, chicken, salads, and light dishes with milder flavors are the go-to for pinot grigio. As for cheeses, goat, feta, and gruyere pair best with this bright wine.

Christina’s Pick: Duckhorn Pinot Grigio

Bottleneck Menu Pairing: Lobster Roll (South Branch) or Blackened Salmon Salad (City Works, Old Town Pour House)



A versatile and crisp wine, this family of blush-colored wines tends to be bright yet delicate, balanced in acidity, and light-to-medium bodies. With strong notes of citrus, stone fruit, melon, and florals and can range from sweet to dry, depending on the country of origin.

Perfect Pairs: With its delicate nature and balanced acidity, rose pairs best with seafood, vegetables, fruit, or prosciutto.  For a cheese pairing, consider fresh mild cheeses such as mozzarella or burrata.

Christina’s Pick: Although New World Rose is definitely on the rapid rise, the traditional French rose never disappoints. I strongly recommend Chateau Miraval Cotes de Provence Rose.

Bottleneck Menu Pairing: Stuffed Grouper (Sweetwater) or Shrimp Harvest Salad (South Branch)



Shiraz wines are renowned for their rich and juicy profiles. Full-bodied and earthier, these wines typically contain notes of pepper, spice, berries, red fruit, and flowers such as violets.

Perfect Pairs: Heartier meats like ribeye, sausages, or anything dry-rubbed/barbecued

Christina’s Pick: Penfolds Shiraz

Bottleneck Menu Pairing: Smoked BBQ Platter or Smoked BBQ Ribs (City Works, Old Town Pour House)



Considered a dry but “jammy” wine, Malbec is full-bodied, rich, and strikes a lovely balance of decadent notes. Containing notes and flavors of dark berries (think plums and blackberries), they also contain notes of dark chocolate, tobacco, and vanilla. Less acidic and tanniny than its cousin Merlot.

Perfect Pairs: Steak, lamb, pork, or semi-hard cheeses such as gouda, aged cheddar, or soft blues

Christina’s Pick: Colome Malbec Reserva

Bottleneck Menu Pairing: Bacon Cheddar Burger/Bacon Cheeseburger (Sweetwater, City Works, Old Town Pour House)



Dry, medium-to-full-bodied, and moderate in acidity, Chardonnay can be described as clean, buttery, or even oaky. The cleaner medium-bodied Chards possess notes of tropical fruit like pineapple and mango, despite not being sweet. The heavier-bodied chards often characterized as “buttery” or “oaky” tend to have notes given to them from the barrels they’re aged in, along with hints of spices, caramel, and vanilla.

Perfect Pairs: Chicken, seafood, pasta with cream, cheese, or wine-based sauces are all great choices. For a cheese course, consider Fontina or a triple cream.

Christina’s Pick: Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay

Bottleneck Menu Pairing: Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese (City Works, Old Town Pour House) or Shrimp Scampi (South Branch)

Did you know all City Works and Old Town Pour House wines are on tap rather than in a bottle? Read about all the benefits.