What is a wine pairing?
The definition of “pairing” within the world of wine and gastronomy corresponds, as its name indicates, to the process of combining food with a specific type of wine. With the main objective of creating flavors out of this world and thus, enjoying food in a completely new way. Certain flavors and textures can cause fantastic combinations when mixed with wines.
Pairing is a very common theme among professionals and wine lovers. A wide variety of recommendations and opinions have been written on the subject, and it also has become a gastronomic science.
Basic information about pairing
First of all, to fully understand the concept of pairing, we must clarify some doubts that arise in the first contact.
Is any food good for pairing?
Yes. There is no single or exclusive dish for pairing, in fact, it can be done with all kinds of foods. It is said that the perfect combination that could be done between a food dish and a wine, can make a difference between the most common recipes and the authentic dishes of culinary art.
This may be the secret to become in some of the bests connoisseurs when it comes to wines. So, technically it is possible to make pairings with an infinite number of different food dishes and recipes.
First tips for a good pairing.
The art of pairing isn’t just doing a combination and pray that it’s good. Pairing foods could be and entire ritual if we are picky, so we shouldn’t pass over any step.
The magical moment of uncorking has finally reached. Remember that, to uncork a wine, we must always hold the bottle in an upright position by resting it on a flat surface. In this way, it will uncork gently and without shaking, avoiding spilling any of the bottle content.
“Why should we decant a wine?” you may be thinking… Well, by decanting the wine it’s possible to eliminate cork residues that may have fallen when the wine was uncorked. It’s also a good way to give the wine greater oxygenation, so it can bring out its aromas.
We must not forget something as important as the temperature, which will vary according to the type of wine we have chosen to combine with our dishes. We have to know the ideal temperature at which the wine should be served, this way we make sure that we achieve the best pairing as possible.
Important tips to create good pairings between food and wine
After reading some basic information and the first tips for pairing, it's time to get fully into the subject and talk about pairing a little bit deeper.
Down below, you’ll read really useful tips or advices that you can follow if you want your pairings to be peak in quality and flavor.
An almost perfect pairing
The effect that our pairing must cause when tasting food is to harmonize its flavor with the memory of the wine. So, the flavor of the food is gently left in our mouths, but with a slight touch of perfection by the delicate notes the wine adds. This is how we can achieve an almost perfect pairing.
are you a lover of food and good wine, just like us? Well, then go ahead and practice pairing.
Before pairing we got to be clear on what our menu has, what dishes make it up and what kind of wine combines with the chosen dishes. For example, let’s say that we order a baked salmon, it would be more than perfect to pair it with a good white wine.
Tips for pairing fish with white wines
In general, white wines accompany non-fatty fish, shellfish or rice. But there are other more unctuous whites, with barrels, that can accompany fattier fish and more complex dishes, seafood stew. However, the pairing does not only depend on the type of food we are eating, but also on the wine as well
At the same time, we must take into account the dish preparation, the way we cook the dish is essential for choosing a proper wine and, above all, the use of sauces or spices, only if used, since every factor, will change the flavor of the recipe, and for that reason a change on the wine selection could be made
For example, a semi-fatty fish in a sweet sauce will not pair the same as a flaky or lean fish cooked on the back. That is why we classify the different types of fish according to different ways of preparation, in order to achieve a perfect pairing with white wine.
For example, a semi-fatty fish in a sweet sauce will not pair with the same wines as a flaky or lean fish cooked on the back. That’s why we classify the different types of fish according to different ways of preparation, in order to achieve a perfect pairing with white wine.
Types of fish for a white wine pairing
- Fatty fish:
Those are the ones that have a fatter texture, reaching up to 10% in fat content. They are usually blue fish, among them, the next kind stand out: swordfish, salmon, tuna, bonito, mackerel or shark. For this type of fish prepared on the grill, its highly recommended opt drier and tastier white wine.
- Lean fish
Those are the softest fish, the white ones, with just 2.5% fat. The perch, sole, sea bass or turbot stand out in this group. Lean fish goes well with a fresh and light white wine; whose acidity accentuates the mild flavor of this type of fish. A dish of white fish, lightly seasoned and spicy, calls for a barrel-fermented white wine. However, some fish such as sea bream, sea bass or turbot that have a lot of flavor, pair with an aged white wine, such as Martín Códax Lías.
- Semi-fatty fish
Also called medium texture, these fish contain between 2.5 and 6% fat content. They are considered scaly, although they are firmer and thicker. In this group we can find: hake, cod, grouper, halibut, trout or monkfish.
It’s common to prepare this type of fish as a stew or in a sauce, making it essential to combine it with a barrel-fermented white wine, any Chardonnay would be an excellent choice. However, fruity white wines, are the ones that best pair with semi-fatty fish.
Pairing between sparkling wines and desserts
The important thing when it comes to pairing with desserts is that the sparkling wine chosen is capable of bringing out the flavors of the desserts you combine with. For this, three important aspects of wine must be taken into account.
The amount of sugar: sweetness of the wine should not compete with the sweetness of the dessert, meaning that wines and very sweet desserts should not be contrasted but rather complement each other. If the dessert is already sweet enough, the sugar levels of the accompanying wine should not be high, but neither too low, because the taste of the wine would be very bitter.
The intensity: You need to be careful with the intensity of the flavors that are going to be paired. Remember that they need to complement each other, therefore, if we are dealing with a dessert with intense flavors, combining it with a powerful wine will be the best option.
Acidity: in a similar way to the intensity, in this case the acidity must also be contrasted. Wines with high acidity are the perfect dance partners for desserts that include fruits with natural acidity: lemon cake or orange sponge cake and others.
The best choice of sparkling wines for desserts would be the semi dry ones and especially the sweet ones.
Sparkling wines with chocolate desserts
Between dark chocolate and white chocolate, there is milk chocolate. This chocolate is usually preferred by almost all people, its creaminess and balanced sweetness make it the most common chocolate for desserts and sweets. Classically, combining this type of dessert with a red or white wine would be a safe bet, but if you are risky enough, we invite you to accompany it with a balanced sparkling wine. Toast this Christmas with champagne!
Sparkling wines with fruity desserts
Fruits are some kind of a dessert themselves (well, at least a great part of them), when they are part of other desserts as an ingredient, things get serious. There are many types of fruits and the key to being able to pair them is to control the balance between the aromas, the ideal thing is getting to a point where both wine and fruits aromas are complemented. Of course, we must not forget that acidity also plays an important part in pairing, especially when the pairing consists of a sparkling wine with a fruit
Sparkling wines are ideal to combine with fruity cakes. A cava would be a good choice, sparkling wines thanks to their carbon dioxide are always a good choice to boost flavors.
I hope this article helps you to start and prepare for the exciting hobby of collecting wines, as well as taking it to the next level, hopefully, making you a wine specialist in the future.
We also invite you to visit the best wine store; “finding.wine” where you can learn many and of course, find the best wines at the best prices.
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- Fabianni Posteraro