Nothing gives greater pleasure than pairing wine with your favorite food; they are an inseparable pair that takes you on a whole new experience. However, knowing the right wine to pair with the right meal can be confusing and intimidating.
We interviewed Frankie from Ombretta Cucina+Vino , and he gave us some good tips on how to pair wine with your favourite foods.
When thinking about which wine to pair with your favorite food, you should take the flavor of your food into consideration; it can either complement or contradict your wine selection. In addition, the wine should not overpower the food, and the food should not overpower the wine.
Basic Principles of Pairing Wine with Food
Pairing wine with your food should be based on the objective of taste. Wine can be classified according to its taste and alcohol content such as:
- Sweet (residual sugar)
- Bitter (tannin)
- Sour (acidity)
- Alcohol Content
- Heavy (higher alcohol content and feels like syrup)
- Light (low alcohol content and feels like water)
Food, on the other hand, can be classified into robust and light food. Below are the basics of wine and food pairing:
- Pair wine that tastes acidic or has a higher alcohol content with fatty and sweet foods; else, the wine will taste flabby.
- Pair bitter (tannic) wine with sweet foods for a balanced taste.
- Use acidic wine sparingly with salty foods to keep sharpness in the food. The acidity in the wine should not compete with the saltiness of the food.
- Use alcohol to cut through fatty foods or balance a sweet dish.
- Acidity in wine or food is good for sweet food or wine respectively.
- Pair lighter wine with lighter foods and heavy wine with robust foods.
How to Pair Wine with Steak
When it comes to pairing wine with steak, balance is the key. The acidity and the cut of the steak are what you want to focus on; so, get the wine that will balance the meal. The wine to pair with steak may be different due to the cut of the steak.
- Cowboy Ribeye – Get a wine with tannins and acids, e.g. Australian Shiraz, Montrachet Chardonnay, and white wine Australian Rieslings.
- New York Strip – Grab a cup of a bold Pinot Noir, DuMol or Napa Cabs to put the steak’s wild flavor under control.
How to Pair Wine with Chicken
Here are the ways you can pair wine with chicken:
- Classic Southern Fried Chicken – Get a bottle of 2010 Etude Pinot Noir Rose.
- Free-Form Chicken Potpie – Pair with Paso Robles’ 2009 Tablas Creek Vineyard Roussanne.
- Chicken with Gingery Stir-Fries – Pair with Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, or low-tannin Beaujolais or California Pinot Noir.
- Chicken with Green Vegetable-Rich Stir-Fries – Pair with herbal-tasting Sauvignon Blanc or Austrian Gruner Veltliner.
5. Chicken with Spicy or Sweet-Sour Stir-Fries – Get sweet wines such as German Riesling and Brachetto d’Aqui.
How to Pair Wine with Fish
It is important to pair the right with the right type of fish as seen below:
- Flaky Fish – Pair with Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
- Medium Textured Fish – Pair with Pinot Gris, Dry Riesling or Chardonnay.
- Meaty Fish – Pair with Vintage Champagne, Dry Lambrusco, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Greek Red Wines or Dry Riesling.
How to Pair Wine with Pork
- Pork Chops and Loin with Mustard Sauce – Pair with Zinfandel
- Pork Tenderloin – Pair with a rich Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Vino Noceto, Nalle, Grenache or Bucklin.
- Goulash – Get a bottle of the Hungarian Kékfrankos (Austrian Blaufrankisch), Rioja or similar Spanish red.
How to Pair Wine with Pasta
- Tomato-Based Pasta – To balance the high acidity of tomato, pair with any of Rhône Blends, Nero d’Avola, Negroamaro, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Primitivo (aka Zinfandel).
- Cheese Pasta – Almost any wine can be paired with cheese pasta. However, the red and white wines that go well cheese pasta are Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Nerello Mascalese, Langhe Nebbiolo, Ribolla Gialla, Sicilian Chardonnay, and Trebbiano di Lugana.
- Seafood Pasta – Pair with any of Verdicchio, Muscadet, Vernaccia, Pinot Grigio, Grenache Blanc or Picpoul de Pinet (from France).
- Pesto Pasta – Wines that can be taken with pesto pasta include Vermentino, Friuli Sauvignon Blanc, Grillo, Gavi, Fiano d’Avellino, Catarratto, and Grüner Veltliner.
- Vegetable (Primavera) Pasta – Get any of these wines for a balanced taste – Trebbiano di Lugana, Vermentino, Sauvignon Blanc, Gros Manseng, and Greco di Tufo.