Wine and food pairing.

Vinadamo wine food and drink

Fine wine is one of the greatest joys in life, but it tastes even better when paired with great food. The correct food and wine pairing can really add something special to your meals but don’t make the mistake of simply pairing your favourite wines with your most loved foods, or you could be in for a very disappointing experience. Learning about the correct food and wine combinations can help you make some great choices and bring out the best flavours in your food and drinks.

Michelin stars chefs know this really well, and they spend a long time working with their sommeliers to find the perfect combinations before putting out there their signature tasting menus. More often than not, each course of the meal is paired with a different wine, starting from the antipasti to the desserts. This meticulous pairing accentuates the flavours that the chef has created and allows them to stay in our mouths for longer. Although food and wine combinations can be subjective, there are some simple rules that can help us choose the best wines for our homemade dinners.

First and foremost, the wine should be sweeter than the food. This is a simple rule that will bring out the true flavours in our meals. Furthermore, if the wine is less sweet, it will taste bitter in contrast to what we are eating. Even when it comes to desserts it is always a good idea to follow this indication. There are some extremely sweet wines that are fantastic options for ending our meals; whether you went for a rich chocolate cake or a creamy pannacotta choose a good quality Port and you’ve found a great sweet ending to your dining experiences.

Another rule of thumb is red wines with red meat and white wines with white meats. Remember the colour matching rule and pay attention to the other ingredients in your mains too, such as sauces or side dishes. Red meats tend to have a bold flavour, and the richness of red wine can prolong the amount of time the strong flavour stays in your mouth. Red wines also pair well with mushrooms and hearty flavours in general. White wines, which are lighter and sweeter, are best paired with fish and lighter meats, such as chicken or turkey. Don’t forget that the wine should also pair well with the sauces accompanying your meals. What side dishes have you chosen? Are they starchy foods or dark green vegetables? Think carefully about how all those different flavours will play together before making your choice, it is fun to experiment and try sipping different types of wine alongside your meal preparations before choosing what to serve to your guests.

What about cheese? This is a tricky subject as there are so many different types of cheese with very distinctive characteristics. Goat cheese, for example, is quite acidic and requires a similarly acidic wine as a pairing. Steer clear of Chardonnay, which is much better paired with heavier and more buttery cheeses; think French soft cheeses, like Brie. For harder and aged cheeses such as Pecorino or Grana Padano opt for full-bodied whites. You could even try some tannic reds – the Italians would be your best option in this case. Choose a good Chianti, a Barolo or an Amarone and you can’t go wrong.

As well as knowing what to pair fine wines with, it is also important to know what combinations to avoid. There are some wine food pairings that can result in flavour imbalance and ruin your whole dining experience. As fun as it is to experiment with different combinations, we recommend avoiding the following ones.

Probably the number one mistake people often make is to pair heavy wines with light dishes. When choosing wines for pairing we tend to go for fines ones with full-bodied flavours. We want to pick the best bottles to impress our guests, but if we choose something heavy we need to make sure the food is rich enough. An expensive bottle badly paired with a light meal will be a waste of money. However, the rule of rich wine with rich foods and delicate wines with delicate foods doesn’t hold when things get spicy. Spicy food, such as the flavours of Asian or South American cuisines, is best paired with sweet wines. This combination balances the spiciness of the dishes. Sparkling wines are to be avoided at all costs, as their effervescence may result in burning sensations in your mouth, which is already made sensitive by the hot food.

Be careful when it comes to oily fish, such as salmon, tuna or herring. These types of fish tend to have a relatively high iron content, which is great for our health but it reacts strangely when matched with the tannings of red wine. This awkward combination will result in a metallic taste in your mouth, you may even think you are having a bad piece of fish but do not worry, it is just a bad combination with wine. As we have seen already, white wines are best for fish, and this is particularly true for oily types of fish.

Do you want to wow your guests with a starter of the finest caviar? If you have chosen this expensive option, you have to make sure the wine lives up to expectations. Steer clear from reds and heavy wines of course, but you should be careful with whites too. The strong distinctive taste of caviar can make your costly white wine taste like grape juice. For a touch of class and a safe pairing experience, choose a sparkling wine and serve it extra cold. Champagne is a good option, but think Prosecco, Cava or Franciacorta as edgy alternatives.

If you have enjoyed this read, you’ll be wanting to find out a lot more about wine and food pairing. There are many different and exciting combinations to discover and wine pairing classes are a great way to find out and enjoy a sociable evening out with friends, or a special date with your loved one.

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