When one hosts a dinner party, one would hope to find wines that complement the food being served.
Adding the right kinds of wine can bring the meal up to a whole other level. However, pairing wines with food can be a tricky process and many dread the possibility of serving something that will throw off the balance between food and wine. Fortunately, the following tips will help you on your quest for pairing wine with food.
Pairing Wines with Food: Tip Number 1
First and foremost, it is important to serve food and wines that you actually enjoy. This way, if they end up not pairing well, you won’t mind eating the leftovers! Don’t be tricked into thinking that something you dislike can be improved upon with the right food or wine. It is very unlikely that any combination will be able to achieve that.
Pairing Wines with Food: Tip Number 2
Are you serving any specific type of food? If you are serving food from a particular geographic region, oftentimes a wine from the same area will complement it nicely. This works well with European countries, particularly France and Italy. If you are serving an Italian dish, such as pasta bolognese, try pairing it with a Tuscan wine, such as Chianti. Pairing regional wines and food is the easiest way to create continuity.
Pairing Wines with Food: Tip Number 3
Consider the main characteristic of the food. If it’s an overall lighter, milder meal, you will want a light-bodied wine. The same holds true with the opposite. If the meal you’re serving is rich and full of flavor, you will want to serve wine that has similar qualities. Strive to keep the main flavor in balance. For example, salads, poultry, and seafood are typically better suited for white wines because they are lighter and more subtle. Meanwhile, heavier foods, especially meats such as steak and lamb, are usually better matched with red wines. The tannins in the red wines balance out the fats in meats.
Pairing Wines with Food: Tip Number 4
Understand how the different tastes will react to wine. Salty food covers up tannins and intensifies bitterness. Bitter foods will also hide tannins and bring out the sweetness. Young red wines are an ideal pairing for bitter foods, especially olives and herbs. Foods that are overly sweet will reduce the acidity and bitterness in the wine. Also, try to avoid food that is high in acidity because it will cancel out the wine’s flavors.
Pairing Wines with Food: Tip Number 5
Decide whether the food or the wine is going to be the highlight of the night. Have you invited people over to test out a great new recipe? Or are they there to share an impressive bottle of wine? If your “main attraction” is the wine, serve a simpler meal. If you want people to focus on the actual dish, feel free to scale back a little on the wine. Don’t let one upstage the other if that isn’t what you want.
Pairing Wines with Food: Tip Number 6
When it’s time to wrap up your evening, you are going to want a serve a wine that is even sweeter than the dessert. If the food is too sweet, the wine will just end up tasting flat and bitter. Dessert wines are made for this very purpose, and most people will not drink it in any other instance.
There is no single kind of wine to pair perfectly with every type of food. This leaves a lot of room for creativity. Sometimes you will need to experiment a little before you find something that you will love. However, these six tips should give you an excellent starting point.
If you are looking for a particular wine to pair with food, consider stopping by Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, MA. Our wine department offers an extensive selection of wine from all over the world. Our staff is very knowledgeable, with a great deal of experience, and will be able to offer you more even more advice on pairing wines with food.
Did you find these tips for pairing wines with food helpful? When do you think you’ll test them out?