Wine with Dinner? Food and Wine Pairing Basics - Cleveland Article
Wine With Dinner? Food and Wine Pairing Basics
We came up with a few food and wine pairing basic tips for you to consider as you contemplate where to dine in this short wine pairing guide. We’re sure you’ll find the perfect restaurant and hopefully these tips will make your meal a little more enjoyable.
What Wine Goes with What Food?
The overall goal is to balance your wine with the food you’re eating. Give some thought as to whether your meal will be creamy, acidic, fatty, lean, mild or flavorful. Mild wines do well with mild food, big flavorful meals match well with big flavorful wines and acidic foods do best when paired with acidic wines. Acidic wines and creamy dishes do not mix well and spicy dishes can completely overpower some wines. Many times wines and foods go best together that grew up together. If you’re eating an Italian dinner you may consider an Italian wine, for example.
How Do You Pair Wine with Food?
Wine tannins are an important factor as well and originate in the grape skins, seeds and the barrels the wines are aged in. Their astringent flavor strips the taste of fat off of your tongue leading to a refreshing meal. Some studies suggest that tannins may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. White wines typically have less tannins than red wines as red wines are aged with the grape skins and pips while white wines are not.
We’ve identified five categories of food, wine and appetizer pairing basics to introduce you to the concept of pairing wine with food if you’re not yet familiar. Have fun and Bon Appetit!
Food and Wine Pairing Basics: Body
A wine's "body" is the delicate balance between the “weight” of your wine and the desired dish it will be paired with. The body of each should match. For example, what food goes well with Chardonnay? We recommend pairing a rich, oaky California chardonnay with a rich buttery pasta and a lighter French Chablis with pasta cooked in a light, wine-based sauce. The wines and pasta complement each other rather than one overpowering on other.
Wine Pairing Guide: Acidity
Tangy foods can sometimes make wines taste flat. When eating dishes with vinegar and/or citrus-based sauces try to pair the snacks or main course with a wine of equal acidity. White wines made from grapes grown in California, northern Italy or France will usually do the trick.
Wine and Appetizer Pairings: Texture
Tannic wines go much better with fatty dishes as the tannins and the fat contrast with each other. The buttery texture of fats act as a tannin nullifier, alleviating the drying sensation of tannic wines while the tannins break down the richness of the fat. Tannic red wines pair well with snacks that include any fatty meat, not exclusively red meats. They will also go better with a ribeye than a filet, due to the fat content of the ribeye.
Wine Pairing Guide: Sweet & Spicy
Did you know that a sweeter wine can take away some of the heat of a spicy dish? Sweeter wines are also sometimes lower in alcohol, which helps offset spicy flavors. On the other hand, a higher-alcohol wine will enhance the spicy flavors, instead of balancing them out.