How To Pair Wine Based On The Food You’re Preparing

Wine pairing can seem complicated to the novice and casual wine drinker however it is not that elusive. You can follow some simple rules to find the perfect complement to your main course. Wine pairings aren’t as simple as white wine for fish and red wine with beef. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing just the right wine for the perfect meal.

Before making a decision on pairing wine it is important to consider some key features of the main dish such as the ingredients as well as the intensity.   In this context intensity refers to the weight and this is dependent on things like spices, salt or even acids found within the particular food item. In a perfect pairing you don’t want either item, the wine or the food, to overpower each other. They must complement each other. A classic example is the pairing of red wine with steak – a juicy steak is rich and weighty, so a full bodied red wine is a good pairing.

So let’s take a look at some specific examples!

Salmon

Salmon is an example where the traditional rule of “white wine with fish” does not apply, this is because of the weight of salmon. Like tuna or other steak like fish, it’s a hearty fish that responds well to a pairing of reds. A favorite pairing is a Pinot Noir, they are known for their earthy tastes and they counter the meat of the salmon.

Ham

Ham can be a little more tricky for wine pairing largely because of the way ham is prepared, it can be salty, smoky or a mix of the two. For salty preparations a sparkling wine is the best pairing, you may also consider a sparkling Rosé. For a smoky ham you’ll want to try a pairing with a new world Pinot Noir or a GSM red blend.

Chicken

Chicken can pair well with both white and red wines with the right pairing dependent on the cut as well as how the chicken is prepared. Whites such as oaked Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs are good choices for a lightly prepared chicken dish while Pinot Noirs and Zinfindels can complement a heartier chicken preparation.

Pork

Wine pairings with pork will also depend on the preparation of the pork itself. For a light herb based pork loin white wines can really bring out the rich texture of the pork, Chardonnays are perfect for this. For bolder pork dishes like those that are smoked or barbecued you can also switch over to the bolder reds.

Steak

The basic rule for pairing wine with steak is that the leaner the cut, the lighter the wine. Fatty steaks tend to pair well with bold red wines, a Napa Cabernet is a classic example of this.

Lamb

When compared to beef, lamb has a much lighter almost delicate taste and weight. It will also take on the sauce that it has been cooked in, so consider this when pairing. Malbecs are fantastic for a lamb pairing.

Pizza

Pizza is not often thought of as a dish paired with wine however the red tomato sauce does well with a perfect pairing. Reds are the go to wine for pizza with GSM blends leading the list.

Ultimately wine pairings will vary not only by the main dish and its protein or base but how that particular dish is prepared, this goes for the sauces as well as the way a dish is cooked – grilled vs. baked, seared, or smoked. When you understand how this plays into wine you can create a stronger, complimentary pairing.

For more tips checkout: http://www.winemag.com/2014/11/12/mastering-the-art-of-wine-and-food-pairings/

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