Food and Wine Pairing: The Basics and How to Pair


Home-cooked dishes can’t be complete without a bottle of wine. Some meals taste better even when they are paired with the right wine.

But finding a perfect bottle of wine can be challenging. You won’t just have to consider the food’s richness and weight. You must also consider the flavor profile and pungency of ingredients.

Fortunately, with a pack of wine listings and accessories at platforms like Cathay, you will know what to pair your meal with.

Pairing Methods

Basically, there are different ways to approach food and wine pairings. However, all pairings fall within two main categories, including the following:

· Complementary Pairings

This method is based on wine and food combinations, which share no flavors or compounds. Rather it complements one another. Contrasting elements often balance the flavors in these food combinations.

Sparkling, White, and Rose wine in a Jensen wine carafe are perfect options for contrasting pairings. Sweet white wines paired with spicy dishes allow sugar in these wines to cool and balance the spiciness in your food.

Another complementary pairing example is salty dishes with white wine. The saltiness in your dish reduces the wine’s sweetness and often brings out its fruity aromas and taste. A Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay pairs well with salty popcorn and fried dishes.

· Congruent Pairings

In congruent pairings, the wine and food you choose share several flavors or compounds. This could be a sweet wine paired with sweet dishes. One of the important tips when creating a congruent pairing is to make sure the food’s flavor doesn’t overwhelm your wine. When this happens, it will make the taste of your wine bland.

The benefit of this pairing method is that it allows the food and wine to enhance the flavors of each other. Red wine is a go-to option when creating a congruent pairing. With flavors and aromas ranging from smoky to cherry, red wines are easy and diverse to match.

Taste Components in Food and Wines

Simplify dishes down to their basic dominant tastes. For instance, baked macaroni basically has two major components. These include salt and fat. Southern BBQ is complex and often includes spice, sweetness, salt, and fat. Even meals without meat could be simplified.

When it comes to wines, they lack three tastes: saltiness, spiciness, and fatness. But contains bitterness, sweetness, and acidity in different degrees. In general, you may group wines into three major categories. These include the following:

  • Sweet wines
  • Sparkling, rose, and white wines with acidity
  • Red wines with bitterness

Food and Wine Pairing Examples

Experts agree that one of the rules when pairing food and wines is to consider drinking what you prefer. Some of the wine and food pairing examples you can consider are:

1. Barbeque Dishes and Malbec

You can’t go wrong with Malbec if you want to be adventurous and try Korean or American BBQ flavors.

Since BBQ dishes boast various smokey flavor profiles, you may need wines with a great personality. Malbec is smokey and fruity. So it is sure to improve the tangy and sweet notes when it comes to your BBQ sauce.

2. Chablis and Oysters

Whether it is the severe steely dryness of your wine or fossilized remains of oysters found in the Chablis region, there are a few reliable combinations than Chablis and oysters.

You can opt for native oysters, unadorned with shallot vinegar, lemon, or other condiments. Another good option with oysters can be Picpoul de Pinet or Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine.

3. Chianti Paired with Meatballs and Spaghetti

Chianti basically has a fruity and bold flavor with acidity to stand up to the meat and tomatoes. This makes it perfect for spaghetti and meatball.

Alternatively, you may pair Spanish Rioja with a tomato-based sauce. Parmesan cheese also goes perfectly well with Chianti.

4. Foie Gras and Sauterness

Although neither foiegras nor Sauterness can make it on your shopping list, if you want to try something unique, this could be a great combination.

Firstly, Sauternes is one of the dessert wines made from grapes. It is also called a noble rote. With such a wine, pairing is only sometimes obvious. However, foiegras and Sauternes are a perfect combination.

5. Spring Vegetables and Sauvignon Blanc

Due to vegetal pyrazines in this wine, it exceptionally pairs with veggie-heavy food, especially when spring vegetables get involved. If the recipe has fennel, peas, asparagus, artichoke, zucchini, and dill, it could be a perfect pairing option.

Especially herbaceous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine in a Jensen wine glass pairs perfectly with spring vegetables. You can add your spring vegetables to heartier and heavier dishes to boost the wine’s acidity.

6. Charcuterie Platter

Like fancy appetizers you can order in a restaurant, a charcuterie platter is a variety-filled and beautiful way of relaxing into a date night.

You can better enjoy it at home by customizing the spread with your favorite cheese, cured meats, or pickled items. If you want to, you can also enjoy your platter in the comfort of your own pajamas.

How to Pair

Pairing wine and food is among the greatest pleasures in life. However, the sheer number of flavorings you can explore will be daunting.

A great starting point is to match your wine and food according to weight. Always pair fattier food with bigger wines and meals, which are lower in fats, with a lighter style of wine.

For example, delicate textures and flavors of fish are likely to be a perfect match for lighter-style white wine. On the other hand, meaty dishes, like slow-roasted or juicy steak lamb shoulder, are perfect with full-bodied and bigger red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Apart from pairing food and wine based on weight, you can also consider the following:

  • Finding equal partners between foods and wine
  • Discover your flavor profile
  • Categorize wines

Concluding Remarks!

If you want to be a very experienced wine expert, choosing meals that pair well with wines is one of the first steps to take. Not only do wines add delicious ambiance to dishes. The foods that you choose may also break or make the wine’s flavor profile.

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