Remember when "red with meat, white with fish" was all you needed to know?
It's no longer so simple. With the developments of mixed cuisines and the
introduction of a diverse range of ethnic foods, the "old rules" of wine and
food pairing seem passé. Food and wine today are more complex than ever
before, and so are the variables associated with pairing them. That said, it
is possible to recommend a range of wines that are likely to work with a
given type of food!
Try pairing light-bodied wines with lighter food and fuller-bodied wines
with heartier, more flavorful, richer and fattier dishes. What is the
dominate flavor of the dish? Often times, wine is used in the sauce, which
is a great choice to pair with the dish. Also, consider how the food is
prepared. If poached or steamed, a delicate wine would pair appropriately.
If grilled, braised, roasted or sautéed, a more flavorful wine would pair
Opposites attract! Therefore, sweet wines go well with sour or acidic food.
Subdued, complex and aged wines deserve simple food with lighter sauces.
Highly Seasoned Food
Spicy, salty, and smoky flavors are best paired with fruity, low tannin and
lower alcohol-content wines.
Rich and fatty foods often work well with full-bodied Chardonnay, Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel or Syrah.
The sweetness of the dish should be less than the sweetness of the wine.
This is easily accomplished by adding citrus juice or vinegar to the dish.
The sweetness of the wine and the sweetness of the food will cancel each
High Acid Food
Highly acidic foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits and goat cheese usually
go best with acidic wines such as Sauvignon Blanc.
Pairing food and wine is about synergy - neither one should overpower the
other. Trust your palate when pairing food and wine to find similarities or
contrasts in flavors. This is done with the food and wine's flavors,
weight, intensity and basic taste. Let your palate guide you!
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