Food and wine can work together in a million different ways to make your eating experience all the more del. The right pairing between the two can complement and elevate each other’s tastes and satisfy your taste buds to perfection.
Finding a perfect food and wine pairing that works for you is not as easy as it may seem. You may have to consider several things, try out many combinations, and take notes from every experience before you can finally settle on the right pairing. If you barely know enough about foods and wines, this pairing guideline can help you encounter and try out the best matches.
- Sweet and Spicy
Pairing sweet wines with spicy foods is an age-old formula, and you cannot go wrong with it. There is a reason why this pairing works. Imagine your tongue screaming after taking a bite of a spicy dish. At this point, many would reach for a glass of water to wash the spices down, but we all know nothing works better than a mouthful of something sweet to get over the lingering sharpness. Consider your wine the “something sweet” you may need to recover from zesty bites of hot and steamy food.
Not all wines are sweet. To find the perfect food and wine pairing, you will need to match the sweetness level of the wine with the spice level of the food. For instance, a meal of BBQ or smoked meats will go perfectly with muscadine wine, which is sweet enough to complement many spicy foods.
- Tannins For The Fatty Food
If you don’t know what tannins are, they refer to the gritty particles that leave a lingering dryness inside your mouth. Think of grapes, persimmons, coffee, and dark chocolate. The harshness you often feel on your tongue after consuming these results from the presence of tannins within them. Most wines contain tannins because of grape skins, pips, stems, and the wood barrels used to age them.
Although many types of wines contain tannins, some are more tannic than others. Red wine, for example, is often more tannic than other varieties of wines, which is why you see it paired with roasted beef and pork or simply foods high in fat. Since tannic wines tend to leave a drying, rubbing sensation inside your mouth, having them with fat-rich food helps soften their taste. Pair a tannic red wine with your next rich meal to truly experience the credibility of the pairing.
- Acidic Wines With Acidic Food
When you think of an acidic taste, you often think of the sharp flavor exploding in your mouth, like the sour rush you get after biting into a lemon or a grapefruit. All wines contain acidity, although the level of noticeable acidity may vary depending on the prominence of tannins. Less tannic wines are often more acidic and pair best with acidic food.
Acidic foods, such as those with citrus, tomato, or vinegar flavors, work well with acidic wines. Since these foods often have an overpowering and rich flavor, acidic wines complement them by matching their richness. As a rule of thumb, remember to pair your acidic foods with wines of either equal or higher acidity.
- Sweeter Wines With Sweet Food
There is a reason why bitter wines rarely work with highly sweetened foods. Some pairings work only with certain exceptions, and the match of bitter wines and sweet dishes is one of them. When the flavors of your chosen wine and food contrast starkly, it becomes too difficult to bridge the distance between them and reach the right balance. You don’t want your wine and food to fight each other: you want them to complement each other. If your food and wine pairing are constantly struggling to measure up to each other, it may leave you with an unsavory palate.
When pairing wine with sweet dishes, go for a sweeter wine. There are many sweet wines with varying levels of sweetness, which means you have plenty to choose from when finding a match for your dessert or any other sweet dish.
- Cheese And Wines
Having cheese with red wine is one of the most popular pairings. It is tested, traditional, and popularly liked, but it leaves little to the imagination. When finding the perfect cheese and wine pairing that works for you, you may need to get a little risky instead of sticking to the most obvious choices. Test different wine pairings with your cheese to make up your mind.
Try pairing your cheesy dishes with a bottle of white wine, sparkling wine, or light-bodied red wine. Although many prefer red wine with cheese, you may find that white wine works even better with its richness than the former. Many types of cheese, like Gouda and Brie, work well with white wine because of the freshness, sweetness, and acidity of the wine.
- Meats And Wines
Despite common misconceptions, not all meats go with red wine. White meats, such as poultry and fish, pair better with white wine, while red meats fare well with red wine. Red meat is richer, and the tannins in red wine complement them well. On the other hand, white meat tends to be lighter, which is why it works better with white wines of higher acidity.
- Geographical Pairings
There are too many food and wine choices, and finding the right pairing may get overwhelming and confusing for any wine beginner. When you remain undecided on how to pair your food and wine, go with regional food and wine pairings for a safe combination.
It is not as simple as it seems, though. There is no guarantee that you will end up with a perfect pair just by considering common origins, but your chances of stumbling upon one will be high. Cuisine and wine brought together from a common regional nature are more likely to complement each other.
The pairings that work for others may not work for you, which is normal. The best way to find your own right pairing is to go with your guts and try as many combinations as possible. Exploring means experience, and experience means learning. So, don’t hesitate to experience and figure out the best wine pairings!