With wine it is very important when it’s “Wine Time” to choose the correct type of wine with the meal or party menu.
This can sometimes be a problem if you are unfamiliar with the appropriate and commonly accepted selections.
As a general rule, you should always pair red wine with meats and white wines with fish. However, this isn’t too much help because of all the different kinds of wine on the market. You can choose a little more wisely by using the rule of thumb of the heavier the food the heavier the wine should be.
Wine is a luxurious beverage that many people enjoy. In addition to being a great tipple on its own, it can significantly enhance your meals by pairing the right food with the right wine. In this guide, we explain the top choices that will make your wine flavor so much better.
There are three main things that you need to consider when buying wine for an occasion. These three things are: how much you have to spend, what type of wine you want (red or white), and whether you’re going to drink the wine with food or all by itself.
Thankfully, Leora from Public House Wine has 9 great tips for pairing wine with food that will
have you on your way to sommelier status in no time!
1. Body matters
Light foods are best paired with more delicate wines, while heavier foods call for fuller wines.
To detect the body of a wine, remember: body, color, and alcohol are all correlated. So look for the ABV percentage of the bottle or the color of the glass to find a match.
2. Don’t worry about color
The old white-with-fish red-with-meat rules are dead. A bold Chardonnay can take on a duck dish, and a Pinot is a perfect partner for salmon. Focus on flavor and weight, not color.
3. Match textures
Think about the texture of a wine and dish when planning a pairing. Tannins work with textured foods, while smooth and silky go hand in hand. Exhibit A: A tannic Syrah will overwhelm a smooth cheese, but compliment a lamb.
(Side Note: If you don’t know exactly what tannin is, It’s that bitter finish at the end of a sip. Similar to the texture of a tea bag.)
4. Sparkling wines are killer for salty & spicy foods
When you’re eating foods with bold flavors, a sparkling wine will have just the right amount of sweetness to refresh your palate. Some of our favorite pairings are Champagne with French fries, and Cava with curry.
5. Sauces, sauces, sauces
When you’re approaching pairing, think about the sauce. Is it spicy, sweet, or acidic? The natural flavor of the food isn’t relevant, if there’s saucing involved. That being said…
6. Acidity and sweetness are partners in crime
Acidic wines pair well with sweet or fatty foods, and inversely, sweet wines call for foods with acid. Think Sancerre with rich goat cheese or Riesling with spicy Thai.
7. Acid loves its own kind
Acidic wines also match well with acidic foods. Ever squeezed a lemon on a fish, chased by a glass of Sauvignon Blanc? Nothing is more delicious!
8. Keep acids far away from tannin
A squeeze of citrus will make a tannic Cab taste more bitter. If you’re pairing red with a fish dish, make sure it has a creamy or earthy flavor.
9. And of course, enjoy!
A wine pairing can elevate a meal, but a “wrong” match won’t destroy a dish either. Wine is about celebrating food and enjoying new palatable experiences. Do yourself a favor and drink a rose in winter, white with steak, and a red midday. The only way to learn what you like is through experimentation!
– Leora Kalikow, Director of Communications and Sommelier at Public House Wine
Wine and Cheese (classic pair)
Cheese is well known across wine circles to be a great enhancer of wine. The reason for this is because it has a neutralising affect that can help to reset your pallet. When your pallet is neutralised it creates a more refreshing effect when taking a sip of wine. It helps to bring out more flavour in the wine which can make your wine taste better than before. Some of the common pairing of wine and cheeses are as followed:
• Robiola – Sparkling Wine
• Brie – Chardonnay
• Taleggio – Pinot Blanc
• Camembert – Champagne
• Burrata – Tocai Friulano
• Feta – Beaujo
• Mozzarella – Sauvignon Blanc
• Goat – Chenin Blanc
• Ricotta – Pinot Grigio
• Stilton – Sauternes
• Blue – Riesling
• Gorgonzola – Port
• Cambozola – Eiswein
• Gouda – Merlot
• Cheddar – Cabernet Sauvignon
• Parmesan – Chianti
• Pecorino – Valpolicella
• Fontaina – Bardolino
• Gruyere – Sauvignon Blanc
• Double Gloucester – Zinfandel
Choosing a cheese
that matches your wine will help to really bring out the wine’s flavour. As you can see there’s many different options you can choose from.
It may take you some time to become good at matching foods with wines. It does take many years. But the above will help you get started.
And naturally, the more you do it more likely you are to find combinations that go against all the rules. That’s no problem. The rules shouldn’t interfere with your drinking your favorite wine.
Most Popular Regions and Grapes
For more information on these popular regions and varietals, explore Wine Enthusiast’s Buying Guide.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay
Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Moscato, Pinot Grigio
Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel
Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc
Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner
Tempranillo, Albarino, Garnacha, Palomino
Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir
Pinotage, Chenin Blanc
The ability to sniff out and untangle the subtle threads that weave into complex wine aromas is essential for tasting. Try holding your nose while you swallow a mouthful of wine; you will find that most of the flavor is muted. Your nose is the key to your palate. Once you learn how to give wine a good sniff, you’ll begin to develop the ability to isolate flavors—to notice the way they unfold and interact—and, to some degree, assign language to describe them.
A wine beginner might know the basic differences between a red and a white, but it’s also important to learn all the wine types and varietals. You can explore everything from Chardonnay to Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon to Zinfandel in our guide to the most important red wine grapes and white wine grapes.
How to read a wine label
Each wine has something unique to offer your senses. Most wine glasses are specifically shaped to accentuate those defining characteristics, directing wine to key areas of the tongue and nose, where they can be fully enjoyed. While wine can be savored in any glass, a glass designed for a specific wine type helps you to better experience its nuances. Outfit your house with a nice set of stems you will reap the rewards.
All wine is stored at the same temperature, regardless of its color. But reds and whites are consumed at quite different temperatures. Too often people drink white wines too cold and red wines too warm, limiting how much you can enjoy the wine. A white that’s too cold will be flavorless and a red that’s too warm is often flabby and alcoholic.
When you have leftover wine in the bottle, preservation is key. As wine comes into contact with air, it quickly spoils. To slow down the deterioration process, use a quick vacuum pump to suck out the excess air. The less air in the bottle, the longer the wine’s lifespan