Creating the perfect wine pairings for a meal is an art. Does it become a trial an error system or are there real combinations that work.
Some foods may even stump even the most creative oenophile. What should you pair with your sushi take out? Red meat? How about chocolate?
One could try to memorize common food and wine pairings but to create truly inspired pairings you need to understand how flavour components interact.
You can experiment with different pairings by serving glasses from several different bottles, even if it is just a dinner for two.
Food and Wine Magazine’s Ray Isle did a great job creating pairing rules for 15 fantastic wines.
- Champagne is perfect with anything salty.
- Sauvignon Blanc goes with tart dressings and sauces.
- Choose Grüner Veltliner when a dish has lots of fresh herbs.
- Pinot Grigio pairs well with light fish dishes.
- Choose Chardonnay for fatty fish or fish in a rich sauce.
- Off-Dry Riesling pairs with sweet & spicy dishes.
- Moscato d’Asti loves fruit desserts.
- Rosé Champagne is great with dinner, not just hors d’oeuvres.
- Pair a dry Rosé with rich, cheesy dishes.
- Pinot Noir is great for dishes with earthy flavors.
- Old World wines and Old World dishes are intrinsically good together.
- Malbec won’t be overshadowed by sweet-spicy barbecue sauces.
- Choose Zinfandel for pâtés, mousses and terrines.
- Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous with juicy red meat.
- Syrah matches with highly spiced dishes.
Here are 5 insights to some food and wine pairings; with some basic ideas.
Silky whites—for instance, Chardonnays from California, Chile or Australia—are delicious with fish like salmon or any kind of seafood in a lush sauce.
Recipes made with ingredients like mushrooms and truffles taste great with reds like Pinot Noir and Dolcetto, which are light-bodied but full of savory depth.
Most dry sparkling wines, such as brut Champagne and Spanish cava, actually have a faint touch of sweetness. That makes them extra-refreshing when served with salty foods.
Tangy foods—like scallops with grapefruit-onion salad—won’t overwhelm wines like Sauvignon Blanc.
Some cheeses go better with white wine, some with red; yet almost all pair well with dry rosé, which has the acidity of white wine and the fruit character of red.