Wines are a celebration of life!
A way to connect with friends and family. A way to share special moments.
It’s a drink that brings people together. It makes us feel closer to each other. It creates memories. It connects us to our past. It reminds us of the good old days.
But wine isn’t just a beverage. It’s an experience. It’s not just a glass of
red or white. Wine is an art form.
It’s much deeper than that. It’s about the journey. It’s all about the story.
The best stories are told around a table. And when you sit down with someone and share a bottle of wine, you create a bond. You create a connection. You make a memory.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to food and wine pairing.
However, some basic guidelines can help you find the perfect match for your next meal.
Here is a quick guide on food-wine paring to help you get started.
Wine & Food Pairing
Wine is usually made from grapes, but can also be made from other fruits or plants.
The first step in making wine is to crush the grapes or fruit to release the juice.
The next step is to add yeast to the juice, which will start the fermentation process. Once the fermentation is complete, the wine is then bottled and aged.
There are many factors that can affect the final taste of a wine. Some of these include the type of grape used, the climate in which the grapes were grown, how the wine was made, and how it was stored.
Understand the dominant Flavors
The first step is to identify the dominant flavors in both the wine and the dish.
For example, if a wine is fruity (check styles of wines), look for foods with complementary flavors like citrus or stone fruits.
If a dish is savory, look for wines with earthy or herbal notes. Once you’ve identified the main flavors, you can start to narrow down your options.
One common mistake people make when pairing wine and food is matching them by weight.
A full-bodied red wine might pair well with a hearty steak, but it would be too much for a delicate fish dish.
Similarly, a light white wine might get lost next to a rich sauce.
Instead of matching by weight, focus on finding wines that will complement the dominant flavors in each dish.
Consider the Acidity
Acidity is another important factor to consider when pairing wine and food.
Wines with high acidity can help balance out rich or fatty dishes, while low-acid wines tend to pair better with a milder fare.
If a dish is particularly spicy, look for wines with sweetness to help offset the heat.
The third factor is sweetness. Sweetness in wine comes from sugar, but it can also be contributed by fruit or alcohol.
When pairing sweet wines with food, you’ll want to match the level of sweetness in the dish.
For example, a dry Riesling would be a good choice for sushi because its sweetness will offset the salty soy sauce used in making sushi rolls.
Finally, tannins are another important component in wine that can impact food pairing.
Tannins are found in grape skins and stems and they give red wines their astringent quality.
When paired with food, they can help soften proteins and add depth of flavor.
So, if you’re serving a steak dinner, reach for a bottle of cabernet sauvignon – its high tannin levels will pair well with the hearty meat dishes.
Wine & Food Pairing Methodologies
There are two main wine and food pairing methodologies – congruent pairing and contrasting pairing.
Congruent Wine-Food Pairing Methodology
A congruent pairing of wine and food is a combination where the flavors in the dish are matched with corresponding flavors in the wine.
This creates a harmonious balance between the two elements that enhances the overall dining experience.
For example, a rich and creamy pasta dish would pair well with a full-bodied white wine like a Chardonnay.
The bold flavors of the Chardonnay will stand up to the heaviness of the pasta, while also complementing the richness of the sauce.
On the other hand, a light and refreshing salad would be better suited for a crisp, acidic white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc.
The acidity in the wine will help to cut through any fatty ingredients in the salad, making it more enjoyable to eat.
Contrasting Wine-Food Pairing Methodology
A Contrasting Pairing of wine and food is when two different flavors are paired together to create a unique taste.
For example, a sweet wine may be paired with a savory dish, or a bold wine may be paired with a delicate dessert (check out dessert wines to know more)
Quick Pairing Tips
Pairing wine with food is all about finding the right balance between the different flavors. The basic tastes in food are sweet, salt, sour, and fat.
Wine can be used to counterbalance any of these tastes. Here are some quick examples –
– A sweet wine can be paired with a salty dish to offset the saltiness.
– A sweet wine is also great when your dish has dominant fat content (for example, a dish with cheese)
– A salty dish also goes well with sour wines (apart from the sweet ones)
– A dry wine can be paired with a fatty dish to cut through the richness.
– And an acidic wine can be paired with a dish with lots of fat to balance out.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wine and food pairing, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
The best way to learn what works well together is to try different combinations and see what you like best.
With a little practice, you’ll be able to create your own perfect pairings in no time!
Here is a great video by Jancis Mary Robinson a famous wine critic, and wine writer on wine pairing, where she urges everyone to experiment and not be intimated by the rulebook 🙂
If you looking for a quick reference to wine-related terms, check out wine glossary page>
Wine & Food Pairing – Detailed Guides
If you are confused about the best wine pairing for your next dish, look no further than our detailed guides.
These will help you get the best out of your food experience.
Wine FAQs- Some Key Terms to Understand
Wine is an enormous topic with tons of information.
Fortunately, for most of us, what is needed is to understand a few key terms so we can make the right buying decision and enjoy it fully.
Here are some FAQs related to wine terminology –
Vintage wines are those made from grapes that were all harvested in the same year.
The vintage year is usually printed on the wine label, and it tells you how old the wine is. But it can also tell you a lot about what kind of wine it is.
In general, wines get better with age. But not all wines improve with age, and some are even meant to be consumed young.
So, when you see a vintage wine, you know that it’s at least a few years old and has been well-aged by the winemaker.
When a wine is labelled as “non-vintage”, it means that the wine is not from a specific year.
The grapes for non-vintage wines can come from different years, and the wine is often a blend of these different vintages.
This allows winemakers to create a consistent style of wine each year, even if the weather conditions or grape quality varies from one year to the next.
Non-vintage wines are usually released sooner than vintage wines, as they don’t need to age for as long before being ready to drink.
A single-varietal wine is a wine that is made from a single type of grape.
This can be done with either red or white grapes, but most commonly refers to red wines.
Single-varietal wines are usually named after the grape that they are made from, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay.
These wines can also be called “varietal wines” or “pure varietal wines.”
A wine blend is a wine made by combining two or more different types of grapes.
The term can also refer to the process of blending wines from different grape varieties, regions or even vintages.
Blending is a common practice in the wine industry and allows producers to create unique wines with specific characteristics.
There are many different ways to blend wines, and the final product will often depend on the winemaker’s style and preferences. Some producers may choose to focus on creating a balanced blend, while others may deliberately create an asymmetrical wine for added complexity. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to blending, but there are a few general principles that winemakers typically follow.
Firstly, it’s important to consider the body of the wine when blending. Wines made with heavier red grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah will usually have a fuller body, while those made with lighter white grapes like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio will be lighter in body. Winemakers will often take this into account when choosing which grapes to blend together.
Secondly, the alcohol content of the final blend is another important factor. Wines made with higher-alcohol red grapes will usually need to be blended with lower-alcohol white grapes in order to achieve the desired level of booze.
Finally, acidity is another key component of any successful wine blend. Grapes high in acidity can help add freshness and liveliness to wine, while those low in acidity can help round out a wine’s flavor and make it smoother. Again, winemakers must carefully consider the individual characteristics of each grape variety before making any blends.
Blending different types of grapes is an age-old practice in winemaking, and one that continues to this day. By carefully considering the various flavors, aromas, and textures of each grape variety, winemakers are able to create unique wines that are greater than the sum of their parts.
A field blend is a wine made from grapes grown in the same vineyard and harvested at the same time. The term can also refer to a wine made from a blend of different grape varieties, all grown in the same vineyard.
Organic wine is made from grapes that are grown in accordance with organic farming practices. This means that the grapes are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Organic wines are also made without the use of artificial additives or preservatives.
The term “organic wine” can be confusing, as it is not necessarily synonymous with “natural wine.” Natural wines are made from grapes that are farmed organically, but they may also be made with minimal intervention in the winemaking process. This means that natural wines may contain added sulfites, which are used as a preservative.
Organic wines are typically made with more care and attention than mass-produced wines. The grapevines are usually healthier, as they are not exposed to synthetic chemicals. This results in higher-quality organic wines that have more complex flavors and aromas.
Organic wines tend to be more expensive than conventional wines, due to the higher costs of organic grape production. However, many people believe that the quality of organic wine is worth the extra cost.
In the EU, organic wines may contain sulfites but with lower maximums than non-organic wines.