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How to Pair Food and Wine


There are general thumb rules for pairing food and wine: ‘White wines go with white meat’ meaning that one has champagne with fish and chicken dishes. I pair all wines with all dishes and come up with nothing. Fill them up here.

  • Main course – Sparkling wine, Rose,
  • Cheese dishes – Dry Rose, Chardonnay
  • Sauces and dressings—Sauvignon Blanc
  • Salty food – Champagne, slightly acidic wines
  • Fish, saucy dishes – Chardonnay, Brut Champagne
  • Herbs, herby dishes – Vermentino
  • Fruits and desserts—Moscato d’Asti
  • Sweet and spicy dishes –Dry Riesling, slightly sweet wine
  • Light dishes of fish – Pinot Grigio, Vinho Verde
  • Heavy spicy food – Malbec, sweet wines
  • Succulent meat dishes – Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Mousses – Zinfandel
  • Mushrooms—Pinot Noir

What the saying means is that if the food is spicy, one should opt for a sweet wine. If the food has real juicy meat then one should opt a wine that refreshes the mouth. This is also true for the desserts and sweets.

Therefore, it is good to have a view about how wines are classified. The first broad classification is that they are reds or they are whites. After this comes the body of the wine as they are heavy or light.

 Heavy reds  Port, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon
 Light Reds  Pinot Noir, Beaujolais
 Medium Reds  Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc
 Light White  Champagne, Pinot Gris, Chablis
 Medium and heavy whites  White Burgundy, Chardonnay

The idea of pairing is to keep the food just the shade heavier than the wine and make sure the wine has enough weight not to be completely lost.

One should always maintain an open outlook on all matters and an open bottle for all occasions. The pairing is not strictly the rule and one may choose the wine that is available instead of waiting two hours while it is procured from across the town. The other factors that play a role are:

  • Acidity

This is the property of the wine to cause the mouth to water. This stimulates the appetite and if you pair this kind of wine with a dish that is also acidic, your senses will perceive the other tastes present in the food.

  • Sweetness

One may determine the sweetness by the amount of sugar left in the wine. If not all the sugar becomes alcohol during the fermentation process then the wine will taste slightly sweet.

  • Bitterness

Bitterness occurs due to tannins in wine. You can pair bitter wines with dishes that are high in protein and fat. In addition, the effect of grilling and blackening through roasting will give the food the right edge to balance the bitterness of the wine.

Wining like all other arts transcends borders of custom and some wines that are reserved for certain dishes in some countries may find their place among other dishes in other countries. What matters is the satisfaction that comes through dining and of the fulfillment of the senses. Here are some pairings for beginners.

  • Stilton cheese – sweet port
  • Vintage Brut Champagne – Hot spicy Asian cuisine
  • Red meat – hard cheeses, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Beef (roasted or simple) – Merlot Shiraz
  • Chocolate – Port, Muscat
  • Spicy Chicken – Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chicken in cream sauce –White Burgundy
  • Pasta—Riserva Chianti
  • Lamb – Red Bordeaux
  • Fish in lemon sauce – Sauvignon Blanc

For keeping the taste buds alive, you should achieve the perfect match. If there is a slight imbalance in either the selection or the cooking of the dish, it could spell disaster. Generally, you may match acidic wines with acidic foods. If the food is light then select a light wine. Remember cream does not mix with acidic wines. Use a dry wine if the food is rich and fatty.

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