Wine and Food

Wine & Food Pairings

- Specific Food Pairings
- Chef's Corner
- "The Marriage of Food & Wine" by Natalie MacLean

One of the most common and frequently asked questions within the wine industry is the question of what wine goes with what food.  Some people are actually horrified that they will not make a right choice, therefore thinking that they can ruin a recipe, or be on the giving end of a disastrous dinner party.  But the fact is, if you consider yourself a good cook, and like what you are preparing, there is no way a bottle of wine will be the cause of a food disaster.  Selecting the right wine will not only enhance the food, it will also enhance the wine, creating an amazing experience for your taste buds.  Here we will discuss how to make good food and wine matches.

I have listened and watched just how intimidating and scary selecting a bottle of wine can be, but most of it is created fin one’s own head.  The thing to remember is that wine is subjective.  It may be 100 degrees outside, and you are in the mood for a steak on the grill.  A cool glass of Chardonnay is just what you crave, therefore, that choice will be perfect one for you.  The most important rule to remember when pairing food with wine is this: There are no rules, there are only guidelines.  Most of them are quite simple.  Think of Yin and Yang, or Birds of a Feather. 


Here is a simple list of guidelines you can follow to insure a perfect food and wine match!

 Click HERE for Specific Food Pairings

Think sweet with sweet.  Desserts and other sweet foods usually go best with sweet wine.  However, cheeses and fruits also love to be paired with sweeter wines.  This is something you will have to try for yourself.  Choose your favorites, and see how it goes. 

Intense wine with intense food.  For example, a nice big juicy bold porterhouse steak will be at its best with a big, bold full-bodied red wine.  This could be mean Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petite Sirah, or any other full-bodied wine of your choice.   

         Acid loves Acid.  Foods that are acidic, like acidic wines.  Fatty fish oils love a lean acidic wine to cut elegantly through fatty foods or fish oils.  A wine high in acid will also go nicely with salty foods.  Wines that are high in acid may be Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, some stainless steel fermented Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, and even Pinot Noir.  No wine is exactly alike.  If you are not sure what style of wine you are buying, just ask for help.  The thing to remember with high acid wines is that they hate tannins or bold flavors. 

         Spicy foods like a little sweetness.  A perfect food pairing for Thai, Indian, Asian, Mexican, or any food packing a little bit of a kick, is a wine that is slightly on the sweeter side.  Try an off-dry Gewürztraminer, or Riesling.  These wines will extinguish the fire in your mouth.  Remember, a high alcohol wine does not pair with anything spicy.  This will turn a little heat into a full-blown fire on your palate. 

         A wine that is an overly oaky wine or has oak or wood characteristics, such as a full bodied Chardonnay, or even a Cabernet Sauvignon, can be very tricky, and should be sampled before serving.  Soups, salads, and vegetables can also be a challenge.  Pay attention to the ingredients.  For example, most salads with vinaigrette dressings tend to be high in acid, so again, choose a Sauvignon Blanc, or any wine that is also high in acid.  A crisp, fruity white wine with good acid qualities is a wonderful accompaniment with a thicker, heavy sauce such as Asparagus with hollandaise.  You may even want to try a nice bottle of sparkling wine, or champagne.   

 The process of selecting good food and wine matches with a planned meal does not have to be complicated.  Keep things simple.  Compare textures and follow the simple guideline.  This will guarantee a better result.  If you should run into something a bit more sophisticated, please email me.  I will be delighted to give you some suggestions.  Cheers!

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