Pairing food and wine is one of those topics that can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. While you can always explore the endless books written by expert sommeliers, which go into very specific details, the truth is that most of us neither have the time nor the necessity to do so. At the end of the day, what most of us want is a wine and food pairing that enhances both aspects nicely, and makes us look like we know what we are doing. So, here are some simple guidelines that will help you pair food and wine like a pro:
Pair your hors d’oeuvres with bubbles
It’s always wonderful to start a meal off on a bubbly note. Not only does it add a touch of elegance to the event, but the effervescence of the wine also cleanses the palate before the meal. And on those special occasions that call for celebration, there’s truly no better option than sparkling wine, whether you opt for Champagne, Prosecco or Cava.
Match the region of your wines and ingredients
As a general rule, what grows together, usually pairs together very well. For example, a white truffle risotto and a Barolo that comes from the same region is a well-known combination. So, if you tend to opt for fresh, local produce when preparing your food, it might be a good idea to pair it with a local wine. If you live Down Under, there are many places where you can buy red wine online in Australia that beautifully complements the Aussie cuisine. You can find great wines anywhere in the world, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Learn how to balance your acidity
If you’ve ever wondered what the right pairing is for spaghetti and meatballs or which wine you should combine with a ceviche, the answer lies in the acidity. Ultimately, you must always choose a wine that has enough acidity to hold up to acidic foods. Acidity in wines is your best friend, as without it, the wine falls flat. Some high-acidity varietals you can choose to amplify the flavors in your meal include dry Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc for whites, and Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon for reds.
Red wine pairs well with salty food
Salt is what makes wine more palatable, reducing tannic flavors and bringing forward the fruity notes. So, if you like tannic red wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, choose a salty dish to go with it. If you’re a fan of fatty foods, on the other hand, a wine with high acidity will help cut through the richness of the meal, so opt for something like a Riesling, Muscadet or Chablis.
Classic wine pairings are timeless
Whether it’s oysters and Chablis (a mineral, crisp Chardonnay made in France) or caviar and Champagne, these pairings are classic for a good reason. They work beautifully together and they have been tested by many generations. So, if you decide to go with these timeless dishes, or even pair turkey with a glass of Chardonnay for your Christmas or Thanksgiving meal, remember that classic is always a good option.
Pair your desserts with sweet wines
The sweet aroma of the food generally tends to make wines seem less fruity and more bitter in comparison, which is what makes dry wines quite a bad choice during dessert time. Even though it might seem contradictory, this is the ideal time to pull out your fully sweet dessert wines, such as Port, sweet Sherries and Sauternes, in order to have a truly enjoyable pairing.
Although it is always good to experiment and try out new things, ultimately, the best food and wine pairing you can choose is the one that you personally enjoy the most.