Choosing the perfect wine and food pairing elevates the dining experience significantly. Unfortunately, with so many types of wine out there, it takes a lot of work to hit the right notes each time.
And, if you aren’t a sommelier, you likely aren’t sure what you’re doing. Luckily, there are ways to learn.
Food and wine should complement each other and bring out the best flavors from their perfect match. And, with a bit of education, you’ll be able to know how to spot the ideal couple yourself.
Keep reading this article if you wish to learn simple rules you need to follow when choosing vino for dinner. And, if you want to enjoy a meal with wine in Florida, visit Glass & Vine restaurant.
How to Pair Food and Wine
Though each wine has its perfect match, there are rules you can follow to understand better how the process of wine and food pairing works. We’ll get to them in a second.
Firstly, you should understand that there are two basic approaches to pairing food and wine.
- Choosing a wine that will complement the dish you set your eyes on, called complementary pairing
- Selecting a wine that will enhance the dish you’re having, called congruent pairing
Those are the basics. Remember these principles every time you choose between a few types of wine. What are you trying to accomplish? Should the pairing be complementary or congruent?
Intensity and Character Should Be Matched
Similar flavors complement each other. Why would it be any different with wine and food pairing? It’s not.
For example, if you’re having fish with lemon sauce, a high-quality citrusy white wine will pair perfectly. So, choose a Pinot Gris Italian wine and see if our rules make sense.
On the other hand, mild foods prefer mild wines. And foods with an abundance of flavor need flavorful wines. So a heavy beef steak will need a glass of spicy Shiraz next to the plate.
And finally, the richness of the food matters. If you’re eating a rich meal, like chicken in a creamy sauce, make sure you find a match equally rich in flavor. Our recommendation is a high-quality Chardonnay.
The Weight Should Be Similar
Pairing food and wine without paying attention to the weight is a big no-no. And no, we aren’t talking about physical weight. The weight of the food shows how heavy on the stomach it will be. Usually, foods with more fat tend to be heavier.
So, keep that in mind when finding a match for whatever is on your plate. Lighter dishes like chicken or fish go well with delicate wines. White wines are an obvious choice for this type of food, but you can also go with a red with low tannins.
Chardonnay is among the most popular types of wine that have a medium weight, and prawns are its perfect match. Their weight is quite similar, so they complement each other’s characteristics well.
Acidity Is Important
Acidity is often overlooked when pairing food and wine. That’s a mistake you should avoid.
Remember that wines with high acidity are best used to cleanse the consumer’s palate. So, order a young Riesling if you’re having something oily.
A plate of Indian curry or some other dish with a buttery sauce will go perfectly with this type of wine.
But avoid pairing acidic wines and creamy sauces. Sparkling wine will likely clash with that type of food.
If you’re having food that’s already quite acidic, like a salad with vinegar or an acidic fish, have a dry wine on the side. A crisp Pinot Grigio will go well with each of those dishes.
Bitter Tannins and Richer Foods Go Well
Tannins are a term you always hear when people discuss wines. But do you really know what it means? Well, though tannins can be from many places, the ones we’re usually discussing come from the skin of the grape. They give a mouth-puckering taste to the drink and are perfect for heavier dishes.
The astringent flavor of the tannins is excellent for cleansing the palate of rich meals. So, pairing Cabernet Sauvignon and steak would be a good decision.
Salt and Tannins Don’t Go Together
Salty flavors in food should be balanced by the wine you choose to drink with them. That’s why Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect choice for anyone munching on feta cheese and olives.
However, a hint of sweetness can also do wonders for a salty dish. Parma ham and melon taste great together, and you can do the same with wine. There are plenty of sweet Italian wines that pair perfectly with salty cheeses. But keep an eye out for tannins.
Tannins and salt don’t go well together, so grippy red wines, like Shiraz, are what you should avoid.
If you’re drinking a dry wine, pair it with something noticeably acidic with a low level of tannins.
The Wine Should Be at Least as Sweet as the Food
Dry wines taste over-acidic if you pair them with sweet foods. So, the general rule is to ensure your wine is at least as sweet as the dish you’re eating.
If you’re eating something rich like pâté, find yourself a sweet wine with some acidity. Its sweetness will complement the food’s richness, and the acidity will help cut through the fat content. Sauternes is a recommendation you should keep in mind.
And, of course, remember that sweetness can balance the saltiness in the food. Blue cheese always comes with a glass of sweet wine, and that’s something that shouldn’t change.
Keep the Sauce in Mind
The sauce influences the flavor of your food. That’s exactly why you should add it to the equation when deciding the wine of choice.
Use the pairing techniques you’ve learned today to help you make the right decision. Delicate sauces with a citrusy flavor go well with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay, which is also fantastic with mushroom sauces. On the other hand, Shiraz works better with red meat sauces.
You Can’t Kill the Spice
If you’re having something extremely spicy, wine is not likely the right choice of drink. Foods with too much spice will clash with the flavor of the wine and destroy its quality. So, in most cases, you should try having something else to drink.
However, if wine is the only drink for you that night, don’t go with a dry option and try to numb the spices in the food. You’ll only destroy your drinking experience.
Instead, go for a spicy Riesling or some other wine that has a bit of spice to it.
Find the Perfect Match at Glass & Vine
Come to Glass & Vine restaurant to find the ideal match of food and wine. Our chefs will prepare the best food you can find in Miami and find something on our wine list that goes with it perfectly.