What are some good tips for pairing wine and food?
- Learn the basic wine characteristics
- Balance the food and wine acidity
- Try different pairing methods
- Add salt
- Serve sweet with sweet
- Don’t be afraid to experiment
When you want to order wine online in the Philippines, things can quickly become intimidating because of the different types. From full-bodied red wines to crisp dry white wines — the options are endless. But if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that wine enhances the flavors of food. This is your one-stop guide to the best tips for pairing wine and food.
Food and wine pairings should enhance, not dominate each other’s flavors to create a gastronomic experience. While there are no set-in-stone rules for pairing wine and food, there are some simple tips you can follow to help you pick out the perfect wine for the meal offerings you have. The following tips will familiarize you with some pairing basics and how food affects the taste of wine. Read on.
Learn The Basic Wine Characteristics
For the right food and wine pairings, you will need to carefully assess the wine’s body, acidity, and tannins along with the different tastes of the dish.
The term “body” is used to describe how heavy or light a wine feels in your mouth. Wine body is divided into three categories: light body, medium body, and full body. For example, full-bodied wine is one with rich flavors, a strong aftertaste, and a powerful aroma. Contrarily, a light or medium-bodied wine is easy to drink and smooth.
Acidity in food and drink tastes tart and zesty. It is a characteristic present in all grapes and plays a role in the fermentation of wine. If you say you prefer a wine that is more rich and round, you enjoy slightly less acidity.
Tannins refer to the chemical compounds found in the skin, stems, and seeds of grapes. It is a characteristic that adds bitterness to wine and tends to dry out one’s palate.
Generally speaking, light-bodied red wines have average alcohol levels and fewer tannins. These wines often taste smooth because of reduced tannin. The difference between medium and full-bodied wines has a lot to do with acidity and tannin levels. Full-bodied wines taste rich because of increased tannin and lower acidity.
Here is a simple guide on different kinds of wine and their corresponding characteristics:
- Pinot Noir - light-bodied, less tannin, higher acidity
- Sauvignon Blanc - light-bodied, high acidity
- Rose - light-bodied, high acidity
- Garnacha - medium-bodied
- Chardonnay - full-bodied, less acidity
- Cabernet Sauvignon - full-bodied, high tannin
Balance The Food and Wine Acidity
Once you have identified all the basic characteristics of wine, you can start playing around with food pairing options. Start with acidity because this determines what type of wine will interact best with your food. Keep in mind that a wine should not be dominated by its food pairing. There’s a fair amount of instinct to matching food and wine with regard to acidity.
The saltiness in food is a great contrast to acidic wine. The dish decreases the sweetness of the wine and brings out the wine’s fruitier taste. Think about smoked salmon and Pinot Noir. Salty food has a complementary effect for making acidic wine taste less bitter which, for most people, is more enjoyable.
Try Different Pairing Methods
There are numerous ways to approach wine and food pairings, but every pairing falls within two categories: congruent pairings and complementary pairings.
In a congruent pairing, the food and wine chosen will share the same flavors. This means a rich wine is paired with a rich dish. The important tip to remember when creating congruent pairings is to ensure that the wine is not overwhelmed by the flavors of the food. This can make the wine taste bland. Rich and full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon will have a similar flavor profile with juicy red meats, making it a great congruent pairing.
On the other hand, complementary pairings involve mixing food and wine combinations that share no similar flavors. This pairing method complements food and wine by balancing their contrasting flavors. Light-bodied wines like Rosé, White, and Sparkling wine make excellent choices for contrasting pairings. A common complementary pairing is a sweet Moscato wine and spicy dishes like curry. A glass of Chardonnay will also pair perfectly with salty popcorn and especially well with fried dishes.
Salt is an ingredient that instantly improves the taste of your food. Did you know that salty food also momentarily blocks your taste buds’ awareness of acidity? It softens tannins as well. This is why adding a pinch of salt to your glass of acidic wine has a flavor-enhancing effect. When eating something salty such as cured meats and hard cheeses, pair it with Champagne, or Cabernet Sauvignon for maximum enjoyment. The next time you’re finding a wine too acidic, you can also reach for some salty crisps.
Serve Sweet With Sweet
Sweet food can make a wine seem more bitter and acidic. Therefore, you would want to serve wine with a higher level of sweetness than the food. Sweetness also balances with salt which is why sweet wines are classic companions of salty food like blue
Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
Now that you know about pairing wine and food, it won’t be long until you’re confident to choose wines that boost culinary flavors. Keep in mind that wine and food pairing is not a one size fits all concept. There are tried and tested pairings such as red meats and Shiraz or fish and Pinot Noir. But who knows? What tastes good for others, might not taste good for you. Drink what you enjoy and try to combine it with the dishes you love.
If you are pairing your favorite wine bottle with a dish, remember these six tips for pairing wine and food. In doing so, you can enhance the flavors of your meals.
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