Food and Wine Pairing Basics

There are some basic rules to successfully matching food and wine. The first being, always drink what you love and the second being that you don’t want the wine to overwhelm the flavors of the food nor do you want the food to take over the subtle flavor nuances of the wine. Here are some very basic guidelines to pairing your food perfectly with wine:

Matching Weights
This sounds complicated, but it’s really very simple. When pairing up food and wine, start by matching the weight of the wine to the weight of the food. Heavier wines like Cabernet and Bordeaux should be paired with heavier (heartier) dishes. Light wines like Pinot Grigio and Riesling should be matched with lighter fare.

Matching Textures
Sweet and spicy dishes accentuate the acidity, astringency and tannic qualities, often referred to as texture of any given wine. Foods high in acids or salt content, tend to dull the textures of wine, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What you’re looking for when pairing food and wine is a delicate balance between the flavors of the wine and the flavors of the food.

When matching textures of food with wine, think about what you want the wine to do to the food and vice versa. For example, if you want to bring out the tannins in a Cabernet, serve it with a sweeter or spicier dish. If you think the tannins in the Cab you plan on serving are too “big”, cut them down a bit by serving it with a dish that is a bit salty and bitter.

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