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.