Food & Wine Pairing


The key to pairing food and wine is to pick a wine that enhances the taste of the food you are eating. Red wine with meat and white wine with fish are a good general rule of thumb to follow but there are exceptions. For example, I love Pinot Noir with Salmon and if you are not a big fan of red wine you might want to consider pairing a Rose of Syrah or Mourvedre with heartier dishes or red meat. These wines will typically have the structure of a red allowing them to stand up to bolder foods but they will not have the heavy tannins a white wine drinker may not like.

I find it’s easier to focus on pairing specific food flavors with certain varietals. For whites, sparkling wine is great with anything salty, try bubbles with popcorn or potato chips and you’ll be amazed how the flavor of both are elevated . Crab salad and fish & chips are also a winning combination with sparkling wine.  If you are eating Asian, Indian or spicy food consider a dry Riesling or Gewurztraminer which have natural sweetness that offers a nice counterbalance to any spice.

With flaky delicate white fish consider a light white varietal such as Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc so the food is not overpowered by the wine.  For shrimp, scallops, fish, chicken or anything with a citrus or tangy sauce go for Sauvignon Blanc or Vino Verde.  If the fish you are eating is heartier like Halibut, Sea bass or Swordfish or has a rich or cream based sauce consider a Chardonnay or a light red such as Pinot Noir or Gamay

Be sure to take into account what sauce or herbs are being used with the food you are eating. If you are eating something with mushrooms or earthy flavors consider Pinot Noir or Petite Sirah. For a burger, ribs, lamb or any kind of BBQ, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel are all great choices.  Nothing beats Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or Malbec with a juicy steak.

Experiment and see what flavors taste good to you with different wine varietals.  Most important of all, never lose sight of the fact that if you like how a particular wine and food taste together then for you that is a good pairing.

Please share with me your favorite food and wine pairings and remember there are no right answers when it comes to food and wine pairing so never let anyone tell you that your pairing is wrong.  Go with what you like, after all food and wine is all about enjoyment!

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