Ever wonder what is the big deal about pairing wines with food?
The simple answer is that the flavors, aromas and textures of one complement and contrast with the other to bring out their (hopefully) best characteristics. Take an exceptional gourmet meal, add the right wine, and the flavors will launch you into the stratosphere of delight!
Here are five simple rules to guide you to mate your meals with the wines that will bring out their best:
- Similar flavors complement
If you’re enjoying a light fish with lemon sauce, you can pair it with a citrus-y Sauvignon Blanc to enhance the flavors of each.
- Similar weight and texture
Food and wines that are matched according to whether they are light, medium or heavy-bodied will bring out the best in each other. For example, delight in the rich and medium-weight qualities of a Chardonnay with lobster.
- Similar level of sweetness
Don’t drink wine that is dryer than the food on your plate. If your meal leans on the sweet side, choose a sweeter wine.
- Salt and crispy go together
Crisp wines dance on the tongue with salty flavors. For example, enjoy a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to balance the saltiness of many cheeses.
- Start with the sauce
If the predominant sauce in the meal is a red meat sauce, adorn it with a Merlot, Syrah or Cab. If the sauce leans light or creamy, try a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir. If there’s no sauce, then match the wine to the meat, fish or poultry in the meal.
If all this talk about wines is making you dizzy, try this simple approach:
Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile red wines to match with food. It’s especially great with earthy flavors in the meal, like duck and mushrooms.
Cabernet Sauvignon, the king of red grapes, is to die for with juicy red meat like beef or lamb. It refreshes the palate after each bite.
Champagne is great with anything salty. They have a touch of sweetness that is especially refreshing with salty foods.
Sauvignon Blanc is both herbal and tart and enhances dishes that feature white meats like pork, chicken, fish and shellfish. But don’t serve it with dishes that are heavy on the cream.
Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are actually from the same grape, it’s just that the former is from Italy, and the latter, from France. They’re perfect with light seafood or chicken breast dishes.
Chardonnay is the world’s most popular grape for producing white wine, Champagne, sparkling wine and dessert wine. It delivers a range of colors, depending upon where it comes from, how mature it is, and whether or not it has been oaked. Choose Chardonnay for fatty fish or fish in a rich sauce. Don’t pair it with smoked fish, light fresh cheeses, seared salmon, tomato-based dishes or Thai or Chinese food.
Whatever wine you choose at Matteo’s Gourmet, you’ll experience an exquisite, unforgettable meal! We look forward to seeing you!