“What Grows Together Goes Together”
That is the basic rule, but there are so many other things to consider. Wines were originally developed in their particular regions to complement the native cuisine. Still that is the case but what can we say about popular dishes that come from non-wine producing countries, like spicy Thai Food? That’s easy, Alsacian Gewruztraminer! Why? Because of it’s high acidity, and flavor intensity, Gewurztraminer is a perfect match for such an intense dish. Here are a few other factors to consider when pairing your wines with your meals…
– Match the richer foods with heavier body wines, Lighter foods with lighter body wines.
– Match Sweet Foods with Sweet wines (important, if the food is much sweeter than the wine, you will not be able to appreciate the wine as much).
– High acid foods with High acid wines.
– Flavor Intensity of the food should match the flavor intensity of the wine.
Many dishes can be high in salt. Personally, I try to avoid these, I think too much salt takes away from the character of the food. Besides anyone can add salt to a meal to make it taste better, so if you need to, chances are the meal needs work… However, if you are stuck in this situation you want to pair the food with either sweeter styles of wine or higher acid wines. A sweeter wine (like a big California Zinfandel, or an off dry-medium Riesling) will counter the saltiness. An acidic wine like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Alsace Riesling will cut into the salt and refresh and cleanse the palate. It’s a personal taste preference, each having a different effect.
Matching Steak and other hearty meats with high tannin wines like a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, or Syrah seems to be and ideal match because the tannin actually reacts with the protein in the meat, becoming softer and less drying on the palate.
A classic pair with Brut Champagne/Sparkling Wine is smoked salmon, but I also enjoy Champagne with shellfish, particularly shrimp coctail. Champagne or Sparkling Wine is usually enjoyed as a celebratory beverage, but there are many foods you can really appreciate a good Sparkling wine with!
Fatty, Oily foods like pate usually need a high acid wine but you may also be able pair certain sweet wines like Sauternes with fois gras.
There are many other ways to match food, and experimentation is part of the fun. Follow the basic guidelines and try your own unique matches and let us know if you find anythng special!!