Picking the right wine for your meal is not rocket science, but although many know there is a method to choosing which wine to serve with a meal, they have no clue how to go about it. So relax and browse for how to choose.
A Beginner’s Guide
There are rules to choosing a wine to pair with food, and it depends on flavors that will meld together in a pleasing way and each will complement the other. Wine is made from grapes grown especially for that purpose, so you can’t go down to the local grocer’s; grab a bunch of grapes and DIY wine. Grapes for wine, believe it or not, come in more than a thousand types and varieties.
The pairings of wine and food are designed to enhance the flavor of the food and vice versa. For example, you might choose a sweeter wine to offset and enhance a sour food. The premise is to change the flavor in a good way to give the wine or food a different impact.
The bottom line is choosing which flavor character of the wine you wish to enhance. With wine/food pairings, food should be the choir and the wine the featured act. For example, the right foods paired with a high tannin wine will give the wine a taste like sweet cherries.
Appetizers go well with a dry rosé. A rosé combines the acidity of a white wine, with a touch of the fruitiness of a red. It complements a wide range of appetizers.
Salty dishes with champagne are a great combo. Champagne is actually just a sparkling wine. The light touch of sweetness nicely offsets the salty food.
Rules are Rules
Not only do you need to learn which wine to serve with foods, but it is good to know what not to serve. Bitter wine plus better foods are a no-no. Too much bitter at one time will be rejected by your taste buds. Examples of bitter food or food ingredients are sauerkraut, lemons, and buttermilk. But beware the lovers of all things bitter. A recently published study showed that people with psychopathic tendencies have a great affinity for sour foods, so check your friends and loved ones.
Pinot Grigio and other light white wines are great for fish and other light seafood dishes. An Italian Arneis or a Chablis from France makes a nice wine for seafood. A rule for unoaked white wines is that any dish that benefits from a squeeze of lemon or lime (like the fish) is a good combo.
When serving (or being served) spicy foods, like curried chicken or Thai foods, choose a wine with a lower alcohol content so as not to overwhelm the food. Alcohol punches up the spicy food so the wrong wine can make it too hot to handle. Stick with a Riesling with a hint of sweet to tone down the spiciness.
Man’s Favorite Foods
For the red-meat loving men (ladies too), look no further than a great, full-bodied red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon; the astringent tannins offer a bold taste.
You may not have realized the wisdom of pairing different food types with their wine counterparts, simply grabbing what appeals to you and serving with whatever you have, but a bit of wine wisdom can open up a whole new world of amazing tastes for your taste buds.