Food and Wine Pairing...

Which Wine with Which Food?

A total synergy is probably rarely achieved with food and wine pairing. Ideally a wine should compliment food and vice-versa.

Generally speaking though, a well chosen wine will add to the enjoyment of a meal by complimenting the flavors or by providing an interesting contrast. It is true that an appreciation of wine is shrouded in a degree of mystique and high-sounding terminology that some use to a snobbish advantage.

It is also true though, that many fairly serious wine drinkers who maintain that you can drink any wine with any type of food, and that most wine is not drunk with food anyway.

While this may be so, most would agree that there have been guidelines developed over the years about which types of wines work best with which kinds of food.

For a newcomer to the appreciation of wine it is probably best to adhere, at first anyway, to these general guidelines to get a feel for how certain wines can add enjoyment to a meal.

Once having gained experience then one is in a better position to debate which type of wine should be drunk with bacon and eggs.

It is generally accepted that white wines are better with fish, and red wines with red meats. With meats such as chicken, turkey, and pork, it is acceptable to drink either white or red.

Some find that a crisp dry white wine helps cut through the fattiness of meats like pork or duck, while others prefer a mouthful of rich red wine to enhance the flavor of a bland meat such as pork.

By staying within these general parameters, you will find that there are few really bad food and wine matches, plenty of satisfactory ones, and many good ones.

Another way of approaching food and wine pairing is to take the view that one or the other has to be the star or dominant element, so that one would not match robust reds with rich foods.

A fine wine, with delicate flavors is best matched with simple, plain food in order to really appreciate it.

Drinking a fine red with a curry, for example, is considered a heinous crime by many wine aficionados.

Again, though, there is the alternative body of opinion that maintains that excellent food and excellent wines have an affinity, and that a fine wine deserves fine fare to be served along with it. Some general recommendations and observations on food and wine pairing are as follows:

  • Good partners for fish are fresh, un-oaked Chardonnay like Chablis, or Riesling. Red wines that could also work with fish are those low in tannin such as a light Burgundy or Cabernet Franc.
  • Some classic pairings of wine and food result from the combinations associated with certain geographical areas. Light Italian red wines, Chianti for example, go very well with pasta dishes, and indeed with many meals of meat or fish.
  • The rich cuisine of the Burgundy region works well partnered with the wines of that region. They have a natural affinity, especially when the regional wine is used in the cooking process
  • .

  • Few would disagree that a good Claret or Rhone is a joy with a perfectly cooked steak. Rhone wines go very well with game and also meat casseroles.

If serving wine to guests, it is probably a good idea to stick to tried and tested food and wine pairings so you will be able to relax and enjoy a dinner.

Not quite sure about dining ettiquette? Learn the ins and outs of dining ettiquette from our friends at Better-Dining.

Return from Food and Wine Pairing to Homemade Wine Making Guide Home.

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