Wine pairing is a great, simple way to enjoy the finer things in life. You do not need to be an expert sommelier or billionaire business person to get to enjoy a nice meal with a delicious glass of wine, you just need a little help knowing how to pair them. Pairing wine has been an art form for people who want to take their dining experience to new heights for some time now.
Pairing wine with food takes a bit of knowledge and you can be on your way to turning your dinner parties into a more interactive experience.It is a skill in itself to be able to tell what wines taste good, how they pair well with foods, and how to balance a meal with your alcohol of choice. This can help you expand your culinary abilities as well as your appreciation of the wide. If you want to learn how to better match wines and meals, check out these simple tips.
Red wine is one of the most popular types of wine, which makes it a common sight at dinner. Pairing a red, which is a more acidic taste, means finding foods that are equal to or bolder. Red meats work well, and if you go to this page, you can see how steaks or other intense flavor profiles work well with red wine. It is also important to make sure that the acidity level of the wine is higher than the food, which is why red wine needs stronger, but not too strong, flavors.
The other most frequently consumed wine is white wine. White wine is much more acidic compared to the intensity of red wine’s bitterness, so naturally, it needs different tastes. Chickens and fish work well because they have a distinct flavor, but will match well with whites. It is also a good idea to focus on the sauces of food to match a white wine with. A red sauce for pasta would go well with red wine, and an alfredo would work great with a glass of white wine. White wine is more acidic, and a good rule is to make sure the wine remains sweeter than the food, just like it should be more intense.
Good Foods to Pair With
You can already see some good foods you can pair wines with, but that is not all. The list of good wine pairing foods is tremendously long, so only very prominent ones will be listed. Steak, pork chops, spaghetti with meatballs, salmon, cheese, oysters, shrimp scampi, and chocolate are some excellent food pairings that are easy to make. Pairing wine does not need to be hard, you can clearly see how many of these everyday dinner meals work well with whites, reds, ports, roses, and sparkling wines.
Focus On Strong Elements of a Dish
The elements of the food that stick out the most, like a sauce for a pasta or chicken dish are the most important things to pair the wine with. These are the strongest flavors you taste in the food, so it only makes sense that the wine should combine well with it too. Dark, rich sauces or flavors, such as spices, are great with red wine because of the full-bodied tastes that it has. Lighter dishes, like chicken and fish, can still have strong elements of their flavor that go well with good white wines. Parsley is a noticeable taste that is used in many dishes that combine well with white wine.
Texture and Pairing
It might seem like the taste of the wine when you pair it is the most important factor, and it is to some extent, but it also is important to note that the texture of the food combines with the wine to make a pairing work well. Steak is tough, thick meat that goes well with red, but not all reds are good with a tougher food. Cabernet can work well with this when you think of the importance of the tannins in wine, and how they play with the important flavors of salt and fat that is common in red meats. This texture from the flavors helps change the smoothness of a wine, and vice versa.
How Age Factors In
The age of a wine is a big factor in how much it can impact the pairing process. Older wines are not necessarily better as many believe, but the age of the wine will determine changes to its flavor profile. Fruit changes in flavor and in the process of aging wine, these flavors like acidity and bitterness will change too. Older wines may become more subtle as tannins mellow out, which makes them easier to pair with lighter flavors. The richness becomes smoother, so an older wine provides you the opportunity to mix a red with something like fish because it is less youthful in flavor.
Congruent vs. Contrasting
The general idea of congruent and contrasting is the idea of pairing wine as a whole. Congruent means finding wines that work well with flavor (spice, fat, sweet, salty, acid, and bitter) while contrasting plays against the flavors. Each wine has a different body as well, and within the reds, whites, and sweet wines there is variation.
Pinot noir, chardonnay, and a cabernet sauvignon are all different in terms of wine profile, and different in terms of how much they are either congruent vs. contrasting. It is best to remember how those six main flavors play into the food and how they play into the wine in question too.
Now that you have a little understanding of what goes into wine pairing, you can see how easy it can become with a little practice. Next time you open a bottle of wine, consider how it tastes on its own, then compare it to the food you are eating, and you can start practicing your taste recognition.