Wine Pairing

A great wine and food pairing enhances the aroma of both wine and food. It creates the perfect balance between the meal and wine. It sounds very difficult to pair food and wine but it`s easy if you respect a few rules. In case you need inspiration for your menu and wine pairing we`ve prepared a list of wines and dishes to pair for your meal. The list may not be complete therefore we invite you to take a look and point out your missing favorites

Key takeaways:

  • Your wine should be more acidic than your food.
  • For sweet wines the wine should be sweeter than the food
  • The intensity of the flavor needs to be similar in your wine and food
  • Dark red wines harmonize well with bold flavored meats
  • White wines or light red wines pair well with white meats (e.g. chicken, fish)
  • Bitter (high tannin content) wines are best paired with fat
  • Dry white and rose sparkling wines create contrasting pairings
  • Very often red wines give congruent pairings

What is wine pairing?

Wine pairing is a skill that can greatly enhance your dining experience. It involves selecting a wine that complements and enhances the flavors of your food. There are many different techniques to consider when choosing the right wine for any meal, ranging from taking into account the seasonings used in a dish, to simply considering the balance of sweet and savory flavors. Wine pairing isn’t an exact science, but rather an art form.

Why is food and wine pairing important?

Food and wine pairing is an important part of the culinary experience, often overlooked by the home cook. When done correctly, combining the right food and wine can enhance your dining experience in ways you never thought possible. It’s not only about taste; food and wine pairing is an art that requires knowledge of both the ingredients being used and how they affect one another.

The art of food and wine pairing comes from understanding each component’s flavor, texture, aroma, acidity/tannin levels and body style. Depending on what type of dish you choose to make for dinner or which bottle of wine you purchase at the store, it’s important to understand how these aspects can work together to create a harmonious dining experience.

Congruent and Contrasting pairings

A congruent pairing builds balance by amplifying shared flavors. A contrasting pairing balances by opposing flavors and tastes. To realize these pairings you need to know the flavors which exist. There´re 20 different aromas which are known but you only need to know six to make your wine and food pairing. These are salt, acid, bitter, sweet, fat and spice.

Wine flavors

Wine lacks the taste of fat, salt and spice. Therefore, you can group wine into the three following categories:

  1. Bitterness: red wines have more bitterness
  2. Acidity: White and rose wines and especially their sparkling wines are more acidic 
  3. Sweetness: Sweet white or fortified wines show a high sweetness

Try to simplify a dish to its two basic tastes to match the most prominent element of your food. This can be the sauce for meat dishes or the dressing for a salad. Grilled chicken with a creamy lemon sauce pairs well with a white wine whereas the same grilled chicken with a mushroom sauce pairs with a red wine as the mushroom sauce has an earthier taste.

The larger the surface of the icon the bigger is the content of each flavor component in the wine.

What wine goes with which food?

Break down the dishes into two basic tastes and decide if you prefer a congruent or contrasting pairing. You still need to consider the intensity of the food. Is it light or rich? The intensity of your food and the wine need to be similar in order not to overpower the pairing partner.

FoodFlavorWinePairing
Macaroni and cheesesalt and fatWhite sparklingContrasting
Macaroni and cheesesalt and fatChardonnay or ViognierCongruent

Pairing a bold red wine with your favorite Macaroni and cheese may seem less obvious but it`s possible. A red wine with a lot of tannins (bitterness) will be balanced out by the fattiness of the food. Macaroni and cheese with a smoky cheese will pair well with a Shiraz which has some smokiness on the finish.

In the diagram above we`ve shown all 6 basic flavors and if they match (thick lines) or if they don`t (dotted lines). Think about the examples given above in connection with the diagram and you realize that you can use it as a quick guide. For more detailed wine pairings take a look at our ultimate wine pairing guide. In case we`ve missed your favorite wine or food point it out to us – Enjoy!

WineVarietalCountryFoodCourse

Which food should not be paired with wine?

Most foods can be easily paired with wine. There`s a small number of foods which are very difficult to pair with wine. These are asparagus, blue cheese, chocolate, sushi, soy sauce, eggs and brussel sprouts. You can find perfect matches in our wine pairing guide but why are they so difficult to pair?

Best wine with asparagus

Asparagus is a delicious, healthy vegetable full of vitamins and minerals. It’s also incredibly versatile, as it can be cooked in a variety of ways and paired with many different flavors for a gourmet dinner. To truly enjoy the flavor and texture of this vegetable, however, you need to pair it with the right wine. It has an earthy sulfurus taste due to the presence of sulfur compounds in the vegetable. The sulfur compounds will clash with most bitter (tannic) red wines.

The best wines to pair with asparagus are light-bodied whites like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. These crisp varieties bring out the subtle sweetness of the asparagus without overpowering its delicate flavor. For an extra hint of citrus, try pairing your asparagus dish with an unoaked Chardonnay.

Best wine with blue cheese

Wine and cheese are a classic pairing that can be enjoyed in social gatherings or the quiet comforts of home. If you’re looking to indulge in a bit of luxury, look no further than blue cheese and wine. Blue cheese is a sharp and salty flavor that pairs perfectly with the right type of wine.

When shopping for wine to pair with blue cheese, it’s important to consider the strength of both flavors. Aromatic whites like Riesling or Gewürztraminer are ideal for their slightly sweet and floral flavors, which will help cut through the saltiness of the blue cheese without overpowering it. Sweet dessert wines such as Moscato are also great because they provide balance to the sharpness of blue cheese, resulting in an exquisite flavor combination.

Best wine with Brussel sprouts

When pairing food with wine, it’s important to consider the flavors and textures of each. Brussel sprouts are a classic vegetable side dish that can be cooked in many different ways, creating a wide range of flavor profiles. To ensure the perfect combination, here is an overview of what wines pair best with brussel sprouts. Similar to asparagus the presence of sulfur compounds and an earthy taste makes wine pairing difficult.

A good rule of thumb when choosing a wine to pair with brussel sprouts is to pick one that will complement their earthy flavor profile. For instance, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio both have bright citrus notes and crisp acidity that provide balance for the savory flavors of brussel sprouts. If you’re looking for something bolder, Chardonnay has buttery notes that amplify roasted brussel sprouts and bring out their caramelized sweetness.

Best wine with sushi

When it comes to pairing wine with sushi, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re a fan of red or white, there’s a wine out there that will complement your meal perfectly. To help make the decisions easier, here are some tips on which wines work best when paired with sushi. The difficulty in pairing sushi with wine is th presence of fish and rice (starch) which normally pair with different types of wine.

For those who prefer white wines with their sushi, Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent choice. It has crisp citrus flavors that blend well with the subtle sweetness of the fish and rice in traditional rolls. Riesling is another popular white option for sushi; its notes of green apple and peach bring out the flavors of seafood dishes like salmon nigiri and tempura rolls without overpowering them.

If you’re more of a red wine drinker, Pinot Noir pairs particularly well with tuna and other fatty fish varieties used in sushi making.

What Wine Goes With Sushi?

Best wine with eggs

Eggs or egg based dishes are very difficult to pair with wines is the presence of sulfur compounds in the egg yolk. Eggs and wine are a classic combination. Whether you’re eating eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner, there is the perfect type of wine to pair with them. The trick is finding the right match that will give your meal a unique and enhanced flavor. Here we explore some of the best wines to enjoy with your eggs.

When it comes to breakfast eggs, a light white wine is usually the best choice. A dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc can be great as they offer fruity notes which pair nicely with any egg dish. For something more robust try an oaked Chardonnay – its full-bodiedness pairs perfectly with creamy scrambled eggs or omelets filled with cheese and vegetables.

Conclusion

Wine pairing is easier than you think. You now know the basic principles of food pairin, congruent and contrasting pairing as well as a quick pairing guide and out ultimate food pairing guide. This guide allows you to pair the most critical food as chocolate, asparagus or sushi with the right wine.

Christina Day
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