The weather is changing, the Royal wedding is coming up, the barbeque season is upon us, so we thought that it would be a good idea to refresh our knowledge on wine- food pairing. Whatever the occasion you decide to open that bottle of wine at, it's effect should be a memorable one.
How to best food pair?
Red wine with red meat, white wine with white meats salads and pastas right? Well no!
Take salads for instance, what sauce are you using to dress your salad? What about your pasta? Does it have red meat in the sauce such as Bolognese? Or is it a Carbonara? All these elements need to be taken in consideration when choosing the wine.
The first step to good pairing is to establish if you want to complement or contrast the food flavours. For pasta in a rich cream sauce, for example, you could cut through the creamy fat with a crisp, dry, unoaked white wine such as Pinot Grigio della venezie. Or if you want to complement it you might want to try the Valpolicella Classico.
Like food, wine gets its taste form different components such as sugar, acid, fruit, tannin, and alcohol. Food taste derives from fat, acid, salt, sugar, texture and bitterness. They are the six elements that need to be considered when pairing red or white wine.
Pairing with Fatty foods
A lot of our favorite foods, both meat and dairy products, have high levels of fat. Wine doesn’t contain fat, so when matching a wine with fatty foods, remember that it has to balance that fat with acid, cut it with tannin, or match its richness with alcohol.
Pairing with Acid foods
When looking for a wine to go with an acidic dish, you should make sure that the perceived acidity of the wine is at least equal to that of the food, or the wine will taste bland and washed out.
Salads are often a challenge for wine matching, but you can make it work if you moderate the acid in the dressing by cutting back on the lemon juice or vinegar. Try using some tangy, bitter greens and offset them with herbal flavours from Sauvignon Blanc .
Pairing with Salty dishes
Salt can limit wine choices. Salt can make some oaky wines taste weird, strip the fruity palate out of a red wine and turn high alcohol wines bitter. So, the trick is to stay away from oaked wines and complement the salty foods with a bland one so that the salt is not overpowering the wine.
Another option is to add sparkling wines such as prosecco to the mix. The carbonation can act as a cleaning agent and can add extra texture and fun to the meal.
Pairing with sweet food
Sweet desserts and other sugary foods seem easy, but here’s where a rule really needs to be observed.
There are degrees of sweetness. Some recipes will have just a hint of sugar, such as a fruit sauce served over a pork loin. This light, fruity sweetness can be matched very well with rich white wines such as Chardonnay or Gragnano . Higher alcohol tends to give an impression of sweetness, and balances the sugar in the sauce.
With desserts you must be certain that the wine tastes sweeter than the dessert; otherwise the dessert will strip the wine of its sweetness and render it bitter or tart.
Paring with Bitter dishes
This one can be difficult as we don’t normally deliberately chose bitter foods, however In some cultures, bitter flavours are prized, and usually is linked to some vegetables. If you like this element, then apply the salty strategy – have other foods that do not let the bitterness overpower the meal, then choose the wine accordingly.
Think of textures in a light or heavy context. Light foods are best with light wines; heavy foods with heavy wines! You can of course try and cross match it but to successfully achieve this, you need to have an advanced knowledge of wines.