What are some guidelines for pairing wine with meals?


Quick Answer

Wine and food pairings can be done one of two ways, to either enhance the shared richness and flavors with one another, or contrast them. Consider the tannins, acidic level, sweet, and fruitiness of the wine when pairing with food.

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Full Answer

A spicy food will benefit from a sweeter wine to cut through it, like a Riesling. Conversely, the same Riesling also goes well with a fruity sauce over meat because of similar sweetness.

Salty foods go well with a crisp wine, like Sauvignon Blanc with nuts, or a sweet wine like Sauterenes and blue cheese. Prosecco paired with melon and proscuitto is also a good choice.

Fried and fatty foods are wonderful to eat with wine. A sparking wine cuts through fried foods nicely. Plus Champagne and rich chicken liver pate is a classic. Tannins in wine also cut through fat. There is nothing better than a thick, juicy steak with a Cabernet.

Acidic foods can be tricky to pair with wines. The acidic level of the wine must seem higher than that of the food. Try a Sauvignon Blanc with a lemony sole or a Semillion with a light salad and viniagrette. Pinot Noir pairs well with a tomato tapenade.

Sweet foods can be magnificent when paired with the right wine, horrible when not. Care must be taken.

Chocolate with a Zinfandel is sophisticated, but with a Cabernet it is a nightmare. Chardonnay with a fruity sauce in an otherwise savory dish is lovely, but if stemmed strawberries are served, go with the Champagne.

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