An Introduction to Wine Pairing

An Introduction to Wine Pairing

Wine tasting is great, and who doesn’t like eating? But
the intersection of wine and food fills people with dread. Which wine should I
pair with my steak? I just found an amazing Merlot, what should I cook? There
is a lot of fear associated with food and wine pairing, but not a lot of simple
rules. Have you ever wondered why?

First, a little secret: a wine and a meal will not
explode if “incorrectly” paired. There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes
to wine pairing. If you serve a nice wine and a nice meal, you end up with
something nice. There are some simple tips, though, that can maximize the
experience. Ready? Let’s dive in.
First, consider the overall mouth feel of the food. Is it
light, like a lemon chicken? Maybe heavier, like a pot roast? The wine should
coordinate with this “weight” to some degree. That might mean a full-bodied Zinfandel
for that pot roast, or a Pinot Grigio beside the lemon chicken.
Remember that the protein rarely defines the meal by
itself. Sure, a medium-rare steak doesn’t need a lot of accessorizing before it
jumps on my fork, but many times the sauces and sides play a major role.
Consider the totality of the meal when selecting the wine. A mild protein with
a rich sauce might take you to a buttery Chardonnay. Those BBQ ribs might work
well with a Zinfandel or Malbec. That sauce can stand up to some tannins, so
bring it on!
What about appetizers or snacks? Around our house, we
have one go-to answer: champagne! Salty snacks match well with the dry, bubbly
wonderfulness that is champagne, and don’t get us talking about chocolate
paired with champagne!
So what is the secret to the ideal pairing? Your own
taste, plus a dollop of confidence, will make everything work out great. See
you at the next wine release party!

About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?

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