10 Ways to Successful Food and Wine Pairing!
Spicy, salty, smoked, and highly seasoned dishes are
best paired with wines that are fruity and lower in alcohol such as
Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris/Grigio, dry roses, and Pinot
Noir. Avoid oaky and more tannic wines.
Richer, fattier foods pair best with heavier,
full-bodied wines such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,
Zinfandel, and Syrah.
When pairing sweeter foods with wine, try to keep
the sweetness in the dish less than the apparent sweetness of the
wine. If necessary, sweetness in the dish can be curbed with a touch
of citrus juice or vinegar.
Higher-acid foods, such as goat cheese, tomatoes,
and citrus fruits, pair most effectively with higher-acid wines such
as Sauvignon/Fume Blanc, some Rieslings, Pinot Gris/Grigio,
Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir. If the wine seems too tart for the dish,
add a touch of lemon juice or vinegar to the dish.
In a meal progression where multiple wines
will be served, serve lighter wines before more full-bodied ones.
Serve dry wines before sweet ones, unless a dish with some sweetness
is served early in the meal, in which case it should be matched with
a wine of like sweetness. Serve lower-alcohol wines (Riesling,
Sauvignon/Fume Blanc, and Pinot Gris/Grigio) before higher-alcohol
ones (Chardonnay, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir,
Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah).
Help connect dishes to the specific wine you're
serving by tasting a small amount of the wine as you're finishing a
sauce or side dish so that the recipe can be "tweaked" to
maximum effect. If the wine seems too tannic or bitter for the dish,
a sprinkling of citrus zest or nuts can be added to the dish, for
When using wine in marinades or sauces, use a
decent-quality wine. If possible, this should be the same varietal
as will be matched with the dish, but it need not be the same exact
wine if you wish to drink a better wine than the one with which
Grilling, roasting, sautéing, and braising are
preferred cooking methods when matching dishes with most wines.
Poaching and steaming are more delicate cooking methods that work
best with more delicate wines such as Pinot Gris/Grigio and some
Riesling. Smoking food works most effectively with lighter, fruitier
wines-Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.
Food and wine pairing is about synergy-the food
should not overpower the wine, nor should the wine overpower the
Great food and wine combinations come from finding
similarities and contrasts of flavor, body (texture), intensity, and
basic taste. This is a highly subjective, inexact endeavor. Taste,
and trust your own instincts.
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