Perfect match: how to pair wine with food

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Perfect match: how to pair wine with food

Pairing is caring when it comes to finding the perfect wine match for your meal. You want the wine to complement the food and enhance its qualities, like any good relationship. These rules don't need to be followed step-by-step, but are more of a guide to get started. Choosing wines can be great fun and a bit of a challenge.

Intensity for intensity

The main rule for wine pairing is matching the intensity of the food to the intensity of the wine.
Typically:

  • Red wines = bold flavours = red meats
  • White wines = light intensity = fish and chicken
    This is where the old rule of red wines match red meats and white wines match white meats, but there are other factors that may affect this too, so read on.

Don’t forget the sauce

It's important to base your wine choice on the most prominent element of the meal. The prominent element of the dish will be the one with the most flavour and intensity. If your meal involves meat, it doesn't mean the meat is the most prominent part. In fact, you will probably benefit from considering the sauce in most situations, depending on what flavours are the strongest.

Complement, don't overpower

The wine should be treated as an extra seasoning or spice to the meal. Different wines will affect the meal in different ways, so here are a few tips on what to look for when it comes to choosing your wine.

Food

Wine

AcidicAcidic
SpicySweet
SaltySweet, preferably sparkling
SweetSweeter

Congruent vs contrasting pairings

Just a little fun fact for you – most wine and food pairings can fit into the below two categories, each creating balance in different ways:

  • Congruent pairings create balance by amplifying shared flavour compounds e.g. Red wine
  • Contrasting pairings create balance by contrasting tastes and flavours e.g. White wine, sparkling and Rosé

Cheat sheet

Here are a few wine types and what they tend to match best with to get you started on finding the perfect match for your food.

  • Sparkling - salty foods
  • Sauvignon blanc – meals with tart dressing or sauce
  • Pinot grigio – light fish dishes
  • Chardonnay – fatty fish or fish with a rich sauce
  • Riesling – sweet and spicy dishes, like Asian food
  • Moscato – fruity desserts
  • Pinot noir – earthy flavours, such as mushrooms

If you are struggling to find a wine that pairs with both your food and your preference, always choose your preference. At the end of the day, you still should enjoy the wine, no matter how well it goes with the food.

P.s. here are a few go-to wine and food combos that everyone needs, you can thank us later:

  • Cheeseburger - cabernet sauvignon
  • Chicken schnitzel - riesling
  • Fish and chips - cabernet sauvignon
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