Wine and Food Pairing: Complete Guide
A complete wine and food pairing guide needs a few basics. Once you know what wine goes with which dish, you’ll find that creating your own pairings is much easier. This guide shows you the steps involved in classic food and wine pairings plus you’ll also be learning exactly what to be looking for in the recipes that you try so that you can make some good wine matches.
A Perfect Balance
Excellent food and wine pairings create a perfect balance between the components of any dish and the characteristics of the wine paired with it. Although wine and food matching may seem complicated, the classic food and wine basics are really pretty easy to grasp.
Red or White?
The first food and wine pairing question that everybody usually asks is what kind of wine goes well with red meat? Generally, red wine pairs best with meats that are bold-flavored, like red meat. On the other hand, white wine pairs best with meats that have a light intensity, like chicken or fish.
Many chefs have simple ground rules. Red wine, like a good Cabernet Sauvignon, pairs well with red meat. White wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc, should be paired with white meat.
When pairing great food and wine, you should simply be focusing on six tastes and they are acidic, bitter, fatty, salty, spicy, and sweet. The question is, of course, which variety of wine goes with each food pairing taste?
Start by grouping wine taste into three separate categories: bitterness, acidity and sweetness. Follow these basic guidelines:
Red wines possess more bitterness.
White, sparkling and rosé wines possess more acidity.
Sweet wines naturally possess more sweetness.
Is a particular food super-rich or really light? Salads might seem to be light, however, if you add balsamic vinaigrette, you get high acidity. If a food’s intensity doesn’t appear obvious at first, then you should be focusing on the power of each of the taste components and which is stronger.
When pairing great wine with your food, consider whether that wine is light or bold. Here are some examples:
Sauvignon Blanc is a light-bodied wine but containing high acidity.
Chardonnay offers more body but is usually not very acidic.
Pinot Noir is light-bodied for being red wine and does not possess much bitterness.
Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied with high tannin, having more bitterness.
Fish and White Wine
Both Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay go nicely with sea cuts, from lean and flaky fish, to mild-flavored fish with thin and flaky filets. These include sea bass, sole, tilapia, and pollack. Pair lean and flaky fish with other refreshing and zesty whites, like Pinot Grigio or champagne, to balance the delicate flavor.
Meat and Red Wine
Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon both pair well with any kind of red meat, including steak, lamb, or even wild game. They also form an excellent pairing with Italian food, like spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna for example. Using your imagination and experiment with different flavor combinations. These culinary adventures can yield some delightful results.
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