Do food wine pairings really matter and which wine goes with which food?
The answer depends to a great extent on your individual pallet, how you perceive food, and what types of wine you enjoy.
Wine food pairing preferences are very individual. However, it is undeniable that certain food groups simply pair better with certain wines types. And, when you discover that near perfect match, it truly does enhance both your food and your wine.
In the days when our choices were just red or just white, it was easy to notice that red wine went with beef and white wine went with fish or chicken. But food wine pairings are no longer this simple.
Today’s wines, both red and white, are so varied in flavor and texture, that it’s impossible to pinpoint with 100% accuracy the best wine food match.
Instead, look for a wine with the flavors, aromas and weight that most closely match the characteristics of your meal. It’s all about balance.
In most cases it makes more sense to match your meals’ sauces to a wine, rather than the protein. For example, a blackened (spicy) fish will go better with a Syrah (red) than a Chardonnay (white). But if you are eating a white fish with a delicate sauce, that Chardonnay should be just fine.
One of the most important aspects of wine food pairing is matching the body of your wine with the level of intensity in the flavors of your food.
You don’t want to pair a light wine with with a meal containing heavy foods and sauces. Conversely, you don’t want to pair a full bodied wine with a meal containing light, delicate foods.
Food wine pairings can also be made by region. For example, choose an Italian wine, perhaps a Chianti, to go with your pasta dishes.
Wine food pairing, much like wine tasting, is a skill that takes time and experience to acquire. So, relax and enjoy the process.
You’ll quickly learn what doesn’t go well together and will have had fun figuring it out. We recommend writing down your observations about different wines as you go.
And, do not underestimate the power of Cream of Mushroom Soup with French Burgundy or Dark Chocolate with California Cabernet.
Lastly, if you are fine dining, by all means take advantage of their expert – the Sommelier. Sommeliers are there to help you find the best wine to suit your meal and your budget, so don’t be afraid to ask. A good Sommelier will enjoy sharing their expertise with you.