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Home Wine and Food Pairing Wine and Food

Pairing Wine and Food

There is no hard rule about what meals can be paired with wines, but sometimes people make their own pairing based on their past experiences, current perceptions, or own tastes. You should go with your own tastes in determining how to pair wine with meals.

That doesn't mean you should cast away pairing wisdom built up over the ages. For example, if you want to eat meats with your wine, white wines tend to go best with fish and poultry, while red wines tend to go best with beef. The pairings become even more important with expensive wines, which contain special, subtle flavors.

Even the aroma of the dish you serve will interact with the wines you serve. You want to be careful not to serve a wine with an aroma that overshadows the meal aroma.

If you're serving a well-seasoned steak or beef stew, a wine such as Grenache, with its aroma of black pepper, is a perfect complement. Syrah may also be a good choice. If you were having a more subtly seasoned steak, pair it with a more subtle wine. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are excellent choices with such a steak.

Some people even feel that the color of a wine enhances or detracts from certain flavors. This may be one of the reasons why fish and poultry are often served with white wine. But you must also consider the seasonings and sauces used with these meats. A Pinot Blanc may be an ideal choice when having a spicy fish or poultry selection. Burgundy wine selections may also work well. Duck goes particularly well with acidic wines. Sangiovese and Tuscany are good choices.

Dairy Products

Many dairy products go well with certain wines, especially when mixed with other food dishes. For example, a mixture of cheese, fruit, and wine can be a tasty experience.

Fruity dishes go well with port wines. Cheesy dishes go well with Gewürztraminer. Creamy soups go well with Chardonnay. Rich cheese platters go well with Pecorino, Pinot Noir, or Camembert.

Personal Factors

You need to take personality characteristics and personal tastes into account. If, for example, you're not into heavy wines, such as port wines, you shouldn't let a meal selection dictate that you should have port wines. Likewise, if you don't like red wines in general, you can find special white wine alternatives.

You will also want to consider the order in which you serve the food. If you prefer light appetizers, start with light wines. If you are into heavy courses, go with heavier wines. Your choices should always match your own preferences.