As a mom, wife and entrepreneur, running around in a million different directions is normal. That’s why when it comes to deciding what wine to pair with my meal, I don’t have a lot of time to consider it. And I figured most other people don’t too.
So whether you’re always in a rush, like me, or simply need help determining what wine to pair with your meal, a few simple guidelines can help you make a deicion more quickly. These are not rules, and I am a firm believer in drinking what you like, but it is true that certain flavors in wine and food pair better together than others. The idea of pairing wine and food is balance and for the two to complement each other.
Match Food Weight with Wine Weight
If you’re preparing, or buying from the market, a heavy dish (ie., lasagna) then you want to choose a wine of equal weight and body (ie. something heavier). You don’t want to select a wine that is light in body because it won’t stand up to the weight of the food. Remember, lighter foods with lighter bodied wines and heavier foods with more full bodied wines.
Consider Food Preparation and Flavor Profiles
Delicately prepared/flavored foods (ie., steamed, poached) pair best with more delicate wines. And the reverse holds true. Sauce and accompaniments are just as, or even more, important than the actual main component. The dominant flavor or sauce in the dish should match the wine. (For example, if you are having turkey with a dried cherry sauce, the sauce is more important to pair with the wine than the turkey itself.)
When pairing sweet dishes with wine, remember that the wine needs to be as sweet as or sweeter than the dish at hand. If it isn’t, then the food can make the wine taste less fruity and astringent. So while you may love chocolate and Sauvignon Blanc, the two together do not mesh.
Foods or dishes that are high in acid (ie., tomato-based dishes) pair best with wines of equal acidity. Again, like sweetness above, the wine will taste bitter if the dish is more acidic than the wine.
Consider Flavor Opposites
If you have a spicy dish, often occurring in Asian or Indian cuisine, consider pairing it with a wine that is sweet. The sweetness of the wine will cool the spiciness of the dish. You can match a spicy dish with a spicy wine (ie., Syrah) but the spice in the wine will accentuate the spice in the dish. So if you like that combination then go for it.
As I always say, don’t fret over food and wine pairings. It should be fun. Good company is the most important, but understanding some of the guidelines of food and wine pairings can make a world of difference. Wine consumed by itself will taste completely different when paired with food. So, have fun and experiment!
What are some of your favorite pairings? Do you have any questions about which foods and wines to put together? I’d love your feedback!