Let’s start with the basics of wine pairing. When you know a few rules, it’s actually not that complicated. The aim here is to help you avoid mistakes so that you can fully enjoy your wine and food together.
➜ Acidic & salty food increase sweetness and fruitiness of a 🍷
Acidity and saltiness are your friends as they tend to enhance a wine by decreasing acidity, tannins and bitterness. On the other side, if your wine is already jammy and sweet you might want to think twice.
We recently had this young Bordeaux wine (not our best pick this one 😉) that was full of unripe tannins (bitterness) and acidity. We prepared a rump steak with a blue cheese (super salty) creamy sauce. Magic magic! The wine tasted actually ok thanks to the salt!
➜ Sweet & spicy food increase bitterness, acidity and tannins of a 🍷
Sweetness and spiciness become a little bit more tricky to pair. Indeed, they tend to reduce the perception of sweetness and fruitiness and increase the acidity, bitterness and tannins. Thus, ideal wine pairing should be lower in acidity and tannins and higher in sweetness and fruitiness.
We previously posted about wine pairing with spicy seafood (see here) were we recommend a slightly sweet, very aromatic white wine. Same goes for dessert. If the wine isn’t sweet and fruity enough to keep up with the dessert, it might seem flat, dull or uninteresting.
➜ Find complementary associations
The aim of pairing wine with food is to bring out the best of each component. Thus the wine should have the same flavour intensity as the food. On the other side, the heaviness of a meal can be balanced by the lightness of a wine.
Let’s take the example of a traditional raclette. You know, that heavy meal, based on melted cheese and potatoes? You should avoid making it even heavier with a heavy wine. A good pairing would be a crisp white wine (vinho verde for example) or a dry prosecco. Indeed, the acidity and/or the bubbles will be a pleasantly refreshing.
Now it’s time for you to try 😉
I kept it simple on purpose. These are the basics but it is enough to start. When getting more confident with your pairings, you can explore new associations.
You found out something that works together? Share it in the comments, we’re always happy to hear from you!