These are excerpts from the Wine Buzz Podcast.
Wine and food pairing: whether you’re hosting a dinner party, planning a romantic date night, or just want to enjoy a glass of wine with your favorite meal, learning about how to pair wine and food can be a lot of fun and can help you get the most out of your wine experience.
First and foremost, you want to make sure that the wine and the food are in balance. That means choosing a wine that is the same weight as the food, whether it’s a light, crisp white wine to go with a light salad or a full-bodied red wine to go with a hearty steak. In general, lighter wines tend to pair well with lighter dishes, and full-bodied wines tend to pair well with heavier dishes.
Another important factor to consider is flavor. You want to choose a wine that complements the flavors in the food, rather than overwhelming them or clashing with them. For example, if you’re serving a dish with a lot of spicy flavors, like a Thai curry or Mexican mole, you might want to choose a wine with a fruity flavor to help balance out the heat. On the other hand, if you’re serving a rich, creamy dish, like lobster bisque or a cheese fondue, you might want to choose a wine with high acidity to help cut through the richness.
It’s also worth considering the texture of the wine and the food. For example, a wine with a lot of tannins, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, can have a drying effect on the mouth, so it might be best paired with a protein that has some fat, like a steak or a lamb chop. On the other hand, a wine with a lot of acidity, like a Sauvignon Blanc, can be refreshing and can help to cleanse the palate, making it a great pairing for dishes with bold flavors, like a Caesar salad or a goat cheese tart.
It’s also important to consider the occasion and the setting when pairing wine and food. If you’re hosting a formal dinner party, you might want to choose more elegant, classic pairings, like a bottle of Champagne with oysters or a Bordeaux with a beef Wellington. If you’re having a casual barbecue with friends, you might want to choose more laid-back, approachable wines, like a bottle of rosé or a Californian Zinfandel.
Classic Wine & Food Pairings
In addition to these general guidelines, there are a few classic wine and food pairings that are worth trying. For example, a dry, mineral-driven Chablis is a great pairing for oysters, while a fruity, floral Gewurztraminer is a natural match for spicy Asian cuisine. A rich, buttery Chardonnay can be a perfect complement to roast chicken or pork, while a fruity, soft Pinot Noir is a classic choice for grilled salmon or lamb.
There’s no hard rule on wine & food pairing…but don’t make these mistakes.
The most important thing is to choose a wine that you enjoy drinking. That being said, there are a few common mistakes that people often make when pairing wine and food. One mistake is choosing a wine that is too sweet to go with a savory dish. Sweet wines can be delicious on their own, but they can clash with savory flavors and make the food taste off balance. For example, a sweet Riesling might not be the best choice to pair with a spicy sausage and pepperoni pizza.
Another mistake is choosing a wine that is too light to go with a rich, flavorful dish. If you pair a light wine with a heavy dish, the wine can get lost and the flavors of the food will dominate. On the other hand, if you pair a full-bodied wine with a light dish, the wine can overpower the flavors of the food. For example, a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon might not be the best choice to pair with a delicate tuna tartare.
Our key takeaway?
The key is to experiment and have fun! Don’t be afraid to try different wine and food pairings and see what works for you. You might be surprised by how different wines can change the way a dish tastes. Try pairing a crisp, minerally Chablis with a bowl of mussels in white wine sauce, or a fruity, aromatic Gewurztraminer with a spicy Indian curry. The possibilities are endless!
We hope you’ve learned a little bit about wine and food pairing and are inspired to try some new pairings of your own.
Remember, the most important thing is to choose a wine that you enjoy drinking, so don’t be afraid to try something new and see what works for you.
Thank you for reading. If you’re interested to listening to the audio version with Dr. Lee as the host, please listen to the Wine Buzz Podcast.