The world of food and wine pairing is often an unexplored aspect of the culinary arts for many people. Taking the time to gain the knowledge necessary to properly pair a good bottle of wine with your meal can intensify the eating experience. Wine pairing is about the balance between the specific properties of the wine and the food. If you find you are able to use similar adjectives to describe both a wine and a meal, chances are they will pair well together. Here we’ll discuss some food pairings for some common red and white wines.
1- Cabernet Sauvignon
This full-bodied wine has a moderate acidity with notes of dark fruits which vary according to the region the wine originates from. Cabernet Sauvignon is known to pair well with a variety of red meats and is a great compliment to a heavy steak dinner.
2- Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a dry wine that exhibits a variety of earthy fruit flavors. The light-bodied and smooth characteristics of this wine make it widely considered to be one of the most versatile wines to pair with food. This wine is known to go well with a variety of meat dishes from red meats to chicken or pork. Earthy and rich flavors such as mushrooms, herbs and sauces also pair well with Pinot Noir.
Having a smooth fruity taste that isn’t overly sweet, Merlot is an easy wine to drink. It isn’t as strong as Cabernet Sauvignon and not quite as light as Pinot Noir. Merlot pairs well with a variety of steak and white meat dishes. It also goes well with pasta dishes and strongly flavored cheeses like blue cheese and sharp cheddar.
Syrah has a strong flavor and is a generally full-bodied wine and can have hints of chocolate, coffee and black pepper. As with most other red wnes, Syrah pairs well with a variety of red and white meat dishes with one of the best being lamb.
Chardonnay is known to exhibit a variety of flavors ranging from a buttery oak taste to fruit influences like melon, pear, apple, tropical and various forms of citrus. It pairs well with seafood or poultry dishes. It can also be paired with fruits and cheeses such as camembert, blue and an assortment of other creamy varieties.
6- Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is crisp wine noted for having strong citrus and fruit flavors like lime, passion fruit, peach and green apple. It can be paired with light fish dishes and briny seafoods such as oysters. Green vegetables like artichokes, zucchini and asparagus work well with Sauvignon Blanc. It also pairs especially well with goat cheese.
Riesling is known to be a sweet and sometimes dry wine with a high acid content. This wine often has a crisp apple taste with notes of other tree fruits depending on the region the wine hails from. Riesling is very versatile and pairs well with the cuisine from many different cultures including Asian, Mexican and Indian influenced dishes. It goes well with green vegetables and meals that contain a citrus element.
8- Pinot Gris
This is a moderately bodied wine with a medium acidity that can range from dry to sweet. Pinot Gris pairs especially well with strong cheeses such as paremsian and asiago pasta dishes. It also goes well with any kind of white meat dish.
Simple or Complex?
Taking the time to consider the balance between a good bottle of wine and your meal can improve the experience and impress your dinner guests. Picking a wine that compliments and enhances the flavors in your meal can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Wine pairing can be as simple as choosing a wine that has similar characteristics to your meal. Or it can be a more complex process by analyzing the varying textures and layers of flavor that work well together.
Wine pairing is an interesting and enjoyable addition to meal planning despite the amount of time and effort involved. Exploring the many subtle palate sensations that can be attained through attention to the small details of your meal can result in some pleasurable and surprising eating experiences.