Food and Wine Pairing

Food and wine pairing can be as simple as balancing flavorful foods with flavorful wines

red wine and roasted por

Flavor and body are components of wine that can compliment the flavor and body of your favorite foods

Flavor is Everything

Every food has it's own distinctive flavor and body. The flavor and body of a tuna steak is stronger and meatier then that of a fillet of sole.

An intensely flavored wine will overwhelm a light and delicate meal, just as a hearty and filling dish will overshadow a light and subtle wine.

One or the other will be overlooked and under-appreciated. The best dishes are made up of flavor combinations and are enlivened with the addition of spices, herbs and sauces. When pairing wine and food it is helpful to consider these factors.

Take into account the predominant flavor of the meal. Do not try to match individual components of the dish but rather, appreciate the body and the overall flavor essence before choosing your wine. Marinated Chicken Breastwill love a Sauvignon Blanc.

Stuff the chicken with ham and add a light cheese sauce, and a light to medium-bodied red such as a Pinot Noir will then be in order. The protein of the cheese is a natural for the body of the wine.

Similarly, sauces and spices can change the overall character of a dish. Explore their attributes before choosing your wine because some spices and sauces can BE the dish by their dominating quality.

For instance, shrimp sautéed in butter sauce champagne would do well with a Chardonnay, but if you add hot red pepper and garlic, a Zinfandel or even Syrah becomes a better match because the dish is now richer and bolder.

Additionally, a cooling semi-sweet Riesling would also work well by providing a complimenting contrast. Consider matching pepper, clove,nutmeg and thyme with a Pinot Gris. Here the spices are biting and the wine is crisp and dry.

Matching Food and Wine

  • Match highly acidic foods like salads with vinaigrette dressings, fried rice with soy sauce, or lemony greens; with highly acidic wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. White wines provide more acidity then the reds
  • Sweet wines such as Sauternes, are a natural with desserts and are a soothing contrast to spicy meals like Thai or Szechuan cuisine
  • Flavor differences are actually subtle and it is better to choose wine by focusing on its body
  • Tannic red wines will go best with highly fatty foods like roast duck and lamb chops, as the fat in the meat will tone down the bitterness in the wine.

Easy Food and Wine Pairings

  • Pinot Grigio loves shellfish because it is just weighty enough to match the delicacy of shrimp scampi
  • A round and lush sweet Gewurztraminer will do well with your Chinese takeout AND your Thanksgiving turkey
  • Cabernet Sauvignon complements roast beef or roast lamb because their flavors are equally vigorous
  • Burgundy is also a good with roast beef because the richness and texture is the same in both
  • Pair a flavorful beef stew with a full-flavored Syrah

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