Some Simple Guidelines for Food and Wine Matching
Did you know that there are over 10,000 wine grape varieties in the world? Each has their own distinct flavours and characteristics, and matching them with the perfect food is no easy feet. To help unravel the mysteries of food and wine matching we have put together the following guidelines. Follow these and you will be pairing like a pro in no time.
Avoid tannin with delicate, salty foods
Tannin can completely mask the flavour of delicate foods, and tannic wines paired with salty dishes can create a chemical reaction that leaves an unpleasant metallic taste in your mouth.
Drink light wines before heavy
Heavy wines can cover the palate and mask the taste buds. Drink the lighter wines first.
White before red
The tannins in reds coat the palate and you will loose sensitivity to delicate whites.
Dry before sweet
A dry wine may seem sour and empty of flavour when tasted after a sweet wine, so its best to drink the drier styles first.
Old before young
Older wines (circa 10 years+) tend to me more delicate and complex. Enjoy your older wines before moving onto the younger, more robust wines.
Mirror the weight of the food and wine
Match your light wines with lighter dishes, and your more robust wines with robust dishes.
Feeling More Adventurous?
If you are ready to take your food and wine matching to the next level, consider the following tips:
- Salty dishes take the bitterness out of a wine. Simultaneously, any astringency and acidity in the wine helps balance the prevailing nature of the salt.
- Wines with good acidity and touch of residual sugar, including dry wines, will always be versatile food companions. German Riesling is a great example.
- If the dish has a cream or butter based sauce, wines with a creamy mouth-feel work magically. Try a rich White Burgundy.
- The texture of the dish should be considered as well as the flavour, as the two don’t always correspond. For example, rice has a heavy texture but lacks in flavour, while a fresh red pepper is full of crisp flavour but light in weight.
- Contrast wine and food to offset separate flavours. For instance sweet winse and salty cheeses make for a delicious contrasting balance – Roquefort and Sauternes being one classic example.
- Match the wine’s intensity with the strongest flavours in the dish. But be careful, because the strongest flavour might not always be the main ingredient.
- Fatty and rich dishes always need wine with good acidity to cut through the heavy intensity. For example, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with fish and chips.
- Make sure your dessert wine is sweeter than the dessert.
- Spicy foods work wonderfully with a wine that has a touch of sweetness or robust nature. The sweetness helps mask the heat of the dish.
Don't forget to be creative - try different combinations and new flavours to find your perfect match.