Ultimate Guide to Wine and Food Pairings

Wine and food pairing is a skill that many people often dream of having. However, it is an art that anybody can actually perfect. It just needs a common-sense approach and some knowledge.

It doesn’t matter whether you don’t have experience with wine or not sure about the type of dishes that can really bring out the taste – wine tasting can be intimidating in some way. Most people who try doing it end up giving up because they are afraid to fail.

But that should not be the case. Wine and food pairing should be interesting and fun because it brings creativity to the table. You are able to move away from the normal tastes and create something that excites taste buds.

Below is a guide on how you can successfully pair wine and food:

1.    Match the quality of food with the quality of wine

When it comes to pairing wine and food, it is always important to consider the quality of food and the quality of wine you are serving.

For example, a complex cuisine prepared for special occasions requires a complex and special wine. Similarly, simple foods that you prepare more often go hand in hand with simple wines that are easy to drink.

Using a complex and expensive wine with everyday meals can turn out to be disastrous and disappointing. Always try to match the quality of your wine to that of your food. If you decide to prepare a complex meal using a lot of ingredients, then you also must look for a special type of wine.

2.    Look into the mirror

One of the simplest ways to successfully pair wine and food is to have a mirror in front of you when pairing. This is basically to help you see if the two components have some sort of natural affinity. You will want to see if there are shared characteristics between wine and food.

For example, if you are preparing peppery food and would like the spicy pepper flours to be conspicuous, then choose a wine that contains peppery characteristics such as Zinfandel.

In case you are serving an earthy, mushroom meal and would like to manifest that essence, then go for an earthy wine such as the Red Burgundy.

3.    Use wine with high acidic content to neutralize strong-flavored foods

Although fat is what normally makes meat to be tasty, it can affect the general flavor of a meal. Almost every type of meal has some level of fats in it. That’s why it is important to keep that fact in mind when pairing wine.

There are basically two ways you can use to neutralize fat in a meal. Go for wine with high acidic content, high tannin content, or both of them.

Light meals such as salmon, pork, cream sauces, and poultry that are rich in fats should be paired with acidic wines. Consider Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.

4.    Get to know how flavors work together

Our sense of taste is very interesting. The flavors that you first get into your mouth totally change the perception of those that follow. This aspect can make or break your wine and food pairing process.

The best way to understand how flavors work is to compare the experience you have when you take an orange juice immediately after brushing your teeth. You will notice the sweet taste of the toothpaste completely changes your perception of the taste of orange juice.

By getting to know how flavors work, you will have the confidence of selecting particular foods and wines. In other words, sour and salty flavors lead to positive characteristics of food and wine. But savory, sweet and bitter produce negative flavors and characteristics.

Bottom line

Wine and food pairings is not rocket science. It is all about practice, creativity and some knowledge about foods and wines. However, you should note that different people have different tastes. Not everyone will love the same combination.