Concha y Toro

Ania Smolec 07/07/2016

The best wines to pair with smoked food

You can find different smoked products around the world, from the oriental tea, trough various meats, and spices like Chilean merquén.


You can find different smoked products around the world, from the oriental tea, trough various meats, and spices like Chilean merquén. I invite you to discover some smoked ingredients and their best pairings with wines.

The use of fire and smoke has been the first cooking method discovered by mankind. Since ancient times, it was used to give a new texture and flavor to food, but above all to preserve meat and fish. Today we can find smoky flavors in many cuisines. Some chefs play with this technique and give a smoked flavor to almost everything, from seafood and vegetables to fruits and desserts. Smoked products are fashionable and conquest modern cooking.

ensalada salmon ahumado

As you know, each protein changes its weight on a plate depending on the cooking technique and other ingredients that make up a recipe, such as sauces or spices. In the case of smoked products, keep in mind that they have more weight and depth, so you have to look for more structured wines to make a good pairing.

Smoked Cheddar or Gruyere cheese is a delight. It brings a very special touch to your favorite sandwich or salad. If you serve it as an appetizer, I recommend you try it with Trio Merlot, a wine with a good structure and rich flavors of black fruit and spices. If you are using smoked cheese on vegetarian lasagna (smoked cheese gives so much character to the recipe that you can leave out meat), I suggest Casillero del Diablo Shiraz with notes of flowers, plums and spices.

Surely you have already enjoyed smoked fish. The most typical course is salmon, which can be incorporated into dishes like omelets, salads, crepes, as a filling for ravioli, etc. Smoked salmon is full of character. If accompanied by a dairy item, such as ravioli with ricotta, I recommend you uncork Trio Chardonnay. But if you are going to create a rich salad with vegetables or mushrooms, I recommend Casillero del Diablo Rosé, a wine that gives us the freshness of a white wine and the texture of a red wine.

pizza jamon ahumado

Another delight is smoked eel. This river fish is high in fat and its smoked notes offer an incredible cocktail of flavors. In various cuisines of the world, especially in Japan, it is considered a luxury ingredient. With this fish you need a wine with great freshness to cut the greasy feeling, but with enough body at the same time. My choice is Casillero del Diablo Viognier.

Smoked products also reign in charcuterie. There is no country that does not produce hams, sausages or smoked sausages. A smoked ham can be used at home in millions of recipes, from simple scrambled eggs. Try it with a sparkling wine, as Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection Brut! The egg-based dishes go very well with bubbly wines. Furthermore, this sparkling wine has a good structure to balance the intensity of smoked ham.


Now, if you use smoked ham as a pizza topping, uncork a rich red wine with a good structure as Casillero del Diablo Carmenere. And if you add the same ham into a stew with some beans, vegetables or other smoked meats, I suggest Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon with delicious notes of cherry and blackcurrant.

A simple way to enjoy smoky flavors is serving a charcuterie platter, which cannot miss the classic Spanish chorizo, smoked sausage or Italian salami. With this mix you need tannins and juiciness of black and red fruits. A wine as Casillero del Diablo Malbec should be your choice!

Not every country has such strong smoky flavors as Eastern Europe. I grew up with smoked ham sandwiches and herring. When my friends come over, I like to prepare a snack that fuses the flavors of Europe and South America, uncorking a rich and juicy Casillero del Diablo Pinot Noir. It is the perfect wine for hanging out with your friends . I hope you like my mini sandwiches with smoked cheese and merquén. Enjoy the depth of smoky flavors!

Mini sandwiches with smoked cheese and merquén

mini sandwichIngredients

  • 8 sheets of whole grain bread
  • Smoked cheese
  • Butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, diced 1/4
  • 2 pinches of merquén
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of wine vinegar
  • Salt


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, after about 15 minutes.
  2. Add merquén and continue to simmer, stirring several times, until fragrant, about 3 minutes after.
  3. Sprinkle the sugar over the onions and cook, without stirring, until sugar melts, about 5 minutes.
  4. Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until a brownish amber syrup is formed, about 6 minutes.
  5. Add the white vinegar and simmer, stirring several times, until the jam is thick, about 5 minutes.
  6. Cut the bread into mini squares. In each distribute some butter.
  7. Heat the oven.
  8. Add a few pieces of smoked cheese on the bread. Sprinkle a pinch of merquén and put in the oven until the cheese melts slightly.
  9. Serve with onion confit and wine.