Exploring Wine and Food Pairing
Many of us truly enjoy a fine wine and usually associate this with a fine meal or just appetizers. Not really thinking along the lines to wine
and food pairing, we select a wine that we feel would taste good with our food items. We probably have not completely evaluated the process of wine and food pairing. Wine and food pairing is truly a process of pairing a selection of wine with food dishes with the objective of
improving the dining experience. Traditionally regional wines were served with the traditional local food selections and available foods
and wines usually defined what came to the dinner table. The process of wine and food pairing is a recent phenomenon and has become an
industry unto itself. The primary concept behind wine to food pairings is that the elements as texture and flavor in both food and
wine interact with each other, to find the right combination of theseelements will make the entire dining experience more enjoyable. What
do you look for in a wine and food pairing.
Many restaurants that serve wine offer suggestions for wine and food pairings. However, the problem lies in the restaurant may not have the
appropriate knowledge to make recommendations for wine and food pairing. This provides an opportunity for any restaurant or food service organization to provide training. Having the appropriate will help increase consumer interest in purchasing wine with their meal and hence increase wine sales. Here are some tips to keep in mind that can help you and your staff make the right pairings.
In food and wine pairings, the most basic element considered is the “weight” between the weight of the food, a heavy meat vs. a light cheese or salad and the weight or “body” of the wine, a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon versus a lighter Riesling.
Champagne and sparkling wine, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot gris, Riesling, Pinot gris
Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Viognier, Rhone whites, Sauvignon blanc, White Bordeaux
Pinot noir, Beaujolais
Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Burgundy, Rioja, Chinon, Merlot, Malbec, Zinfandel, Port, Barbaresco, Pinot Noir
When thinking about textures you are looking at the quality of light or heavy. Basically, light foods are best with light wines and heavy
foods with heavy wines. Very sweet foods are best paired with a sweet dessert wine. Everyone has a fair idea of what is a heavy or light
food component is. However, it is not always completely clear what is the appropriate pairing selection of wine. Start with trusting your
palate and some enclosed recommendation from the wine experts. What would be some of your wine selections for a thick juicy steak
covered in sauteed mushrooms or lightly singed Ahi tuna steak?
Highly salted foods are not a good pair for most wine. The salt content may alter the taste of the wine and not in a good way. However, the
sparkling wines would be a good choice as the carbonation and acidic state tend to wash the salt effects away. The sparkling wine are also
a good choice with salty seafood such as oysters. The acidic wines will wash out the salt and enhance the flavors of the salty seafood.
For highly salted menu a select beer may be a good choice. What would be your selection, a sparkling wine or beer?
Many of fine wines including heavy reds and heavy whites possess strong flavors, significant tannin influences and high acid level. These
wine combinations provide and fantastic flavor enhancement to some of our more fatty foods that we all know and love such meats and
dairy products. The wine provides a balance for the fats with the fats, neutralize with tannin and complement the richness with the alcohol.
Acid is a primary element in both food and wine. It adds a freshness and exuberance to the wine and can equally enhance the flavor of food.
When seeking a wine to go with an acidic dish, you should make sure that the acidity of the wine is at least equal to that of the food.
Explore the recommendation of expert wine connoisseurs for some optimal suggestions. A strong acidic wine Sauvignon Blanc will retain its
flavor with your menu.
Sweet desserts deserve a good sweet wine to enhance their flavor. However you must maintain a cardinal rule that the wine should taste sweeter than the dessert or the wine again will taste bland next to a great sweet plate. The sweetness of the wine can range from lightly sweet to very sweet such as ice wine. Several years ago on a trip to Niagara Falls I discovered ice wine in some local Canadian vineyards. Ice wine is extremely rare and expensive as it only occurs in years when a vineyard freezes and these grapes must be harvested and pressed while the grapes are still frozen which may be in the middle of the night. Ice wine is often made from Riesling or Vidal grapes, but many other grapes will suffice. You will find the end product to be a very sweet and delectable experience.
Bitterness is usually perceived as unpleasant and something to be avoided in both wine and food. In wine is usually caused by problems associated with the fermentation process such as contamination by grape seeds or stems or just unripened grapes. A bitterness in the food and wine together just make the situation worse and need to be avoided completely.
Alcohol is an important factor in the wine’s body and weight. Increasing the alcohol content would give an indication of greater density and
texture. In wine and food pairing spicy and salty foods will enhance the alcohol giving the subject the perception of heat to the taste. In wine tasting, body is determined primarily by the alcohol content of the wine and can be influenced by the perceptions of tannins from
the grape skins or oak barrels and the extract of dissolved solids from the wine making process.
Great Wine and Food Pairing
Suggestions for a great food and wine pairing… What are your favorites and what drives your palate?
White Wine Pairings
Seared Scallops and caramelized Onions with Chardonnay
Spinach Crepes with Sauvignon Blanc
Oysters on the half shell with Sauvignon Blanc
Fish Tacos with a Dry Riesling or Pinot Gris. Both are great with meaty fish and fried foods
Grilled Chicken Burgers with Chardonnay
Creamy Mushroom Soup with Sauvignon Blanc
Chinese Chicken Salad with Sauvignon Blanc
Cucumber Soup with Riesling
Steak Salad with Gewurztraminer
Chicken Tostadas with Vouray
Chicken and Mushroom Paellas with Sauvignon Blanc
Linguine with Shrimp, Scallops and Clams with Chardonnay
Pork Loin with Pinot Blanc
Green Curry Fish with Sauvignon Blanc
Pesto Pasta with Chardonnay
Cra and corn soup with Chardonnay
Tomato Gazpacho with Lobster with White Bordeaux
Squash Soup with White Burgundy
Fish Salad Sandwiches with Chardonnay
Halibut with Pesto with Sauvignon Blanc
Marinated Chicken Fajitas with Chardonnay
Red Wine Pairings
Spiced Short Ribs with Petite Sirah
Spiced Lamb Chops with Pinot Noir
Pork Chops with Pinot Noir
Mushroom Rice Salad with Cabernet Franc
Roasted Duck with Red Burgundy
Lamb Shanks with Beaujolais
Grilled Chicken Thighs withMerlot
Classic Burgers and Zinfandel
Portobello and Red Pepper Burgers with Pinot Noir
Grilled Salmon with Pinot Noir
Salmon Burgers with Pinot Noir
Herb-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs with Zinfandel
Pepper Steaks with Cabernet Sauvignon
Spicy Grilled Shrimp Stew with Chianti
Steak Frites with Zinfandel
Penne pasta, Swiss Chard, Jack Cheese and Pecans with Syrah
Roast Duckling with Merlot-Chocolate Sauce with Merlot
Warm Steak Salad with Marinara Sauce with Cabernet Sauvignon
Rack of Lamb and Cabernet Sauvignon
Rosé Wine Pairings
Tuna Tomato Salad and Rosé
Vegetable Soup and Chianti
Bouillabaisse with Rosé
Grilled Whole Red Snapper and Ratatouille with White Rhône Blend
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Pairings
Smoked Salmon and Caviar with Brut Blanc de Blancs
Chicken Liver Pate with Non-vintage Brut Rose Champagne
Summer Melon Salad and Prosciutto with Prosecco
Duck Breast with Brut Champagne