It’s the one question that has eluded food lovers and wine connoisseurs for what we can call a lifetime. It has been discussed, debated, agreed and then disagreed in so many fashions that now most people are just confused and downright terrified to get the answer wrong -the answer to the question, “What wine do I serve with the food?”
Let us start by saying that wine pairing in an entirely personal experience. Your palate is as unique as your fingerprint and what you love the person next to you might not. If carefully chosen, wine acts as a condiment enhancing and amplifying food flavours rather than a beverage to wash down food with. The goal is to create a perfect synergy of food and wine in your mouth.
That said here are a few basic guidelines and examples we have prepared for you to be the next Master Sommelier.
1. Keep it simple
For simply prepared foods, use simple wines. The wine and the food shouldn’t try and overpower each other. They should balance and complement one another.
2. Maintain a balance
With older and more complex wines, serve less intensely flavoured foods.
3. Opposites attract
Contrasting flavours will always work, no matter what. Try combining sweet and fruity wines with saltier food.
4. Red wines and grilled meats are inseparable
If using a great wine, the simpler you prepare the meat, the better you will showcase the wine. As a general rule, as the subtlety and complexity of the wine increase, care should be taken with the food preparation so that the wine will stand out.
Classic Food & Wine Pairings
1. Spaghetti Bolognese & Chianti Classico
A warm plate of spaghetti with the perfect Bolognese sauce containing pancetta, onions, garlic, celery, thyme, oregano, nutmeg, ground beef, acidic tomatoes, fresh Parsley and aged cheese, all combining together to make that delicately complex yet perfect sauce. This perfect meal should be served with Chianti Classico in a delicate crystal glass at 62 degrees. Add a side of chopped Romaine lettuce with light shallot vinaigrette and you’re in food heaven.
2. Champagne and Caviar
It’s hard to make a mistake when you’re pairing one luxury item with another. The rich mousse in Champagne balances off the brine of the caviar well. The bubbles also echo the shape and feel of caviar on the palate.
3. Spicy Food Dishes with German Riesling
One of the best ways to counteract the spiciness in a dish is with the natural sugars in a wine. And the natural sweetness in dry German Riesling is just what your palate needs to cool off. It goes extremely well with Japanese cuisine and sushi as well.
4. Pinot Noir & Grilled Salmon
Salmon has high fat content and therefore requires a medium bodied wine that contains a lot of acidity. Salmon also has a delicately sweet flavour that could be easily lost if paired with an overpowering wine. Pinot noir is the ideal combination.
So, the next time you entertain, show off your superior knowledge. Let the pairing come naturally to you, like the sweet notes of a favourite melody.