July Blog Post: Food & Wine Pairing Tips
Food and wine go together like peanut butter and jelly – but how do you know how to create the perfect harmonious match? The first step to food and wine pairing can be as simple as knowing the basics. Here are a few main rules to follow when creating your own pairing:
You can do one of two things when pairing your wine with food - match the flavors or contrast them. Complementing elements that are in both the food and the wine can be a great way to pair. This can include matching similar texture, flavor intensity and complexity, and even aromas. On the other hand, using the contrast method in your pairing you can combine different textures, aromas, and flavors to create the perfect pairing.
Always remember to keep the basic structure of the wine in mind – acid, tannin, body, fruit, and alcohol, as well as the food – fat, salt, sugar, acid, and bitter.
If you are eating a fatty dish, match it with a heavier tannic wine. The fat in the food will reduce the sensation of the tannins on the palate.
With acidic food, remember to use a wine that is equally acidic or the food will make the wine taste bland. Salt can reduce the perception of high acidity - if you have a very acidic wine, try pairing it with something salty.
When eating a sweet dish you can pair it with a dessert wine to match the sweetness level, but beware of sugar in food because it can make a dry wine seem dryer.
If you are eating spicy food, take notice that it can heighten the perception of alcohol on the palate. Try to pair the spicy meal with a wine that’s lower in alcohol and off-dry or has a slight sweetness to it.
Consider regional pairings. For example, matching an Italian wine with Italian food – Chianti Classico with a wild boar pappardelle. Usually wines of a particular region are made to pair with foods of that region.
Classic food and wine pairings: Listed below are tried and true pairings if you are looking to keep it simple and classic.
Champagne and caviar. The acidity in champagne help minimize the fishy characteristic of caviar, while the bubbles make the caviar feel lighter on the palette.
Sauterne and Foie Gras. The richness of the wine reduces the perception of the salty fat in the dish.
Goat Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc. The balance of acidity in these two components creates the perfect harmony.
Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon. The fat of the steak reduces the feeling of higher tannins in the wine.
Food and wine pairing is an art and a science. Remember to do your research before making pairing choices to ensure a balanced pairing. Lastly, remember this doesn’t have to be a serious matter, have fun with it!
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