Matching Food to the Right Wines

When it comes to food and wine, most people are brought up with the rule stating “red goes with red, white goes with white”, which means red wine goes with red meat while white wine goes with fish and poultry. Then came the “postmodern” maxim which says that ‘if you like the taste, the match is perfect’.

Despite the presence of these simplistic guides, many people still don’t know how to match food and wine well. The truth is, many really don’t know what tastes good and what doesn’t. Fortunately, the art of food and wine matching follows a simple logic that is quite easy to follow.

The bottom-line with food and wine matching is that the food should have an equal fighting chance with the wine and vice versa. Simply put, one shouldn’t dominate the other. When you bite into food, its tastes and pleasures should be enjoyed. When it is the wine’s turn to be sipped, it should evoke an equally pleasurable sensation. Now, when it is time to bite into the food again, it should be the star of that moment. And finally, when it’s time for the wine to draw, it should rise up to prominence once more.

In short, the food should be able to replace the flavors of the wine with every bite, and conversely, the wine should be able to replace the taste of the food with every sip. When the combination isn’t good, one will overpower the other.

To achieve this, you have to take in consideration the dominant tastes found in both the food and wine. Sweet food, such as dessert, goes with sweet wine. Food with hints of bitterness, such as charbroiled meat, would go better with a bitter wine. Acidic foods or those foods that go great with a dash of lemon or vinegar, go with acidic wines.

Here is a short overview of wine flavors:

Acidic wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, White Bordeaux for whites and Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy, Sangiovese, and Gamay for reds. Acidic white wines usually go well with seafood because of their delicate flavor. Acidic red wines go well with tomato based dishes and grilled seafood.

Wines with bitterness include Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Bordeaux, Red Zinfandel, and Merlot. These usually go well with steaks and roasts.

Sweet wines include Vovray, Asti Spumante, Chenin Blanc, or most German wines for whites and Lambrusco, Port, Sherry and Vermouth for reds. These usually go well with dessert or by themselves.

Matching wine with food is not that complicated with this simple guide. Happy matchmaking!

Wine And Food Matching

First, forget everything you’ve ever heard about wine and food pairing. There’s only one rule when it comes to matching wine and food: The best wine to pair with your meal is whatever wine you like. No matter what! If you know what you want, by all means have it. Worried that your preference of a Chardonnay with sirloin steak might not seem “right”? Remember it’s your own palate that you have to please.

-If until now you haven’t been the wine with food type, you’re in for a great adventure. Remember the European tradition of wine with meals was not the result of a shortage of milk or iced tea. Rather, it results from what l call wine and food synergy when the two are paired, both taste better. How does it work? In the same way that combining certain foods improves their overall taste. For example, you squeeze fresh lemon onto your oysters, or grate Parmesan cheese over spaghetti marinara, because it’s the combination of flavors that makes the dish. Apply that idea to wine and food pairing: foods and wines have different flavors, textures, and aromas. Matching them can give you a new, more interesting flavor than you would get if you were washing down your dinner with, say, milk. The more flavorful the food, the more flavorful the wine should be.

-When you’re matching wine and food, the sauces pay a major role, because the sauce can change or define the entire taste and texture of a dish. Is the sauce acidic? Heavy? Spicy? Subtly flavored foods let the wine play the starring role. Dishes with bold, spicy ingredients can overpower the flavor nuances and complexity that distinguish a great wine. Let’s consider the effect sauces can have on a simple boneless breast of chicken paillard might match well with a light-bodied white wine. If you add a rich cream sauce or a cheese sauce, then you might prefer a high-acid, medium-bodied, or even a full-bodied white wine. A red tomato-based sauce, such as a marinara, might call for a light-bodied red wine.

-There’s an obvious difference in the texture or firmness of different foods. Wine also has texture, and there are nuances of flavor in a wine that can make it an adequate, outstanding, or unforgettable selection with the meal. Very full style wines have a mouth-filling texture and bold, rich flavors that make your palate sit up and take notice. But when it comes to food, these wines tend to overwhelm most delicate dishes. Remember we’re looking for harmony and balance. A general rule is: The sturdier or fuller in flavor the food, the more full-bodied the wine should be. For foods that are milder the best wines to use would be medium or light bodied.

Know Your Wine and Food Pairings With This Easy, Basic Wine and Food Guide

Basic Wine and Food Pairings List

Here is a great guide for wine and food pairing. What types of wines go with what types of food? Although there are no firm and fast rules for wine pairings with foods, this basic food and wine guideline makes suggestions that will help you feel at ease with your wine and food pairing decisions, and allow you to enjoy wine to its fullest.

*Hot and Spicy Foods- from Cuisines such as Indian, Mexican, Thai, and Chinese food, which contain ingredients such as chiles, pepper, and ginger.

Wine Pairing: Slightly sweet, fruity, light wines such as Cherin Blanc, Burgandy, Riesling, and White Zinfandels.

*Acidic foods containing ingredients such as feta cheese, garlic, tomatoes, lemon, and vinegar, found in Greek, Italian, and Japanese cuisines.

Wine Pairing: High-acid wines like Chiante, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and sparkling wines.

*Rich Foods with ingredients like butter, lobster, red meats, and cheese, found in Italian, French, German, and Southern US Cuisines.

Wine Pairing: Acidic, citrus  wines like Sauvignon Blanc, or darker red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and dark Zinfandel.

*Salty or Smoky  Foods containing ingredients like olives, salt-cured meats, and soy sauce.

Wine Pairing: Sweet, fruity, light wines such as Chenin Blanc, Reisling, sparkling wines, and White Zinfandels.

*Sweet Foods with ingredients like corn, fruits, mint, coconut, and thyme from cuisines such as Chinese, French, Thai, and Indian.

Wine Pairing: For foods other than desserts, slightly sweet wines such as Chernin Blanc and Riesling work well. For desserts, sweet wines such as Ruby Port, Sherry, and Madeira are perfect.

Note About This Food and Wine Pairing: Pair sweet foods with sweet wines, but never should the food be sweeter than the wine.

Use these food and wine pairing ideas with the knowledge that a good wine is one that tastes good to you and you enjoy drinking, and not one that fits into someone else’s idea of what a good wine is. One individual’s wine/food pairing is not necessarily going to be universally acceptable.

It is not an easy task to convince people that differences in sensory perception between each individual is a significant argument against finding wine and foods that are appealing to everyone. Pairing the two only increases this problem. Basically, it all comes back to that basic factor of wine, food and the appreciation for both – always drink and eat what you like. In other words, eat what you like with whatever wine you feel is appropriate for you.

Life is short. You now have your food and wine pairings guide, so get out there and enjoy some great food and wine!