Saturday, May 31, 2014

How to: Food Pairing 101

So you’re having BBQ ribs for dinner, but have absolutely no idea what wine will complement your meal. Maybe you’re ordering pizza and fancy a glass of wine…wait, does wine even go with pizza? Sure it does. 

You’re not alone. Every week I hear the question “I’m having ___ for dinner, what wine will go with it?”, so I thought I’d share some basics on food and wine pairing. 

Matching Weights
When pairing food and wine, you’re looking for balance. A heavy meal will pair best with a full-bodied and robust wine, and a light meal or appetizers will pair nicely with a lighter wine. 
This goes for both reds and whites. For example, a hearty turkey dinner would pair well with a rich and oaky Chardonnay, while steak pairs well with a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.  

Red with Reds, White with Whites 

In general, red wines pair well with red meats. This includes beef, lamb, pork, and even pasta with a red meat sauce. White meats as well as fish tend to pair well with white wines. Rosés fall somewhere in the middle, and can be served with pork, pizza, or fish depending on the particular wine. 

More Matching

Other factors when matching food with wine are sweetness, acidity, and flavour. The sweetness and acidity of the wine should be equal to or greater than that of the food. Choose wines that will complement the flavours in the dish, such as a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc with tilapia in lemon sauce. 

Here are some common dishes with wine pairing ideas:

Pizza: fruity, medium-bodied reds like Malbec, Valpolicella, and Merlot; or Rosé
Steak: a full-bodied red with tannins, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux
Spicy Asian or Indian dishes: a sweeter white like Riesling, Muscat, or Gewürztraminer
Bold BBQ dishes: medium-bodied reds with a touch of spice, such as Shiraz or Malbec 
Light fish dishes such as tilapia, haddock, or sole: light and crisp whites such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris 
Lobster and Crab: a full-bodied and rich white, such as an oaky Chardonnay 
Light pasta dishes: a light and refreshing white like an unoaked Chardonnay 

As always, these are simply guidelines to pairing food with wine. Try out different combinations to create your own match made in heaven!

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