How to Pair Wine with Food like a Pro

Are you wondering what to eat while you savor the taste of your glass of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Merlot? Pairing wine and food that goes together is so much fun as well as rewarding. The French have always considered the trio – food, wine, and bread – a Holy Trinity of Food.

Well, the tradition of pairing wine and food especially specialty cheeses is now the rage in North America. The Inn at Little Washington, for instance, offers you a chance to entice your palate with sizzling wine and food pairings.

Whether you are looking to drink aged Sauvignon, dessert wines like Riesling or sparkling champagne, here are several types of food to eat with your wine.

6 Basic Rules to Pairing Foods with Wine

Chefs often tell you that cooking food encompasses four things: fats, acids, sweet, and salt. Coincidentally, these four aspects play a great role in determining how food and wine pairs. Remember most culinary rules were meant to be broken. Generally:

  1. Fatty meals go well with either high alcohol or acidic wine. Why? Wine low in alcohol or acidity will tend to taste flat with fatty food.
  2. Richness and acidity in wine go well with fat content and sweetness of the food.
  3. As a rule of thumb, tannins in wines pair perfectly with sweetness foods. Are you wondering what to eat with your dessert? Try high tannic wines such as Pinot Noir.
  4. Acidity in wine shouldn’t compete with saltiness in foods. Pair salty dishes and acidic wines rarely to keep sharpness in the food at a minimum.
  5. Sweet food can benefit from a bit of acidity in the body of the wine. Also, sweet wine can use a little acidity in food.
  6. Another pairing style uses alcohol to balance sweetness or cut through fats in food.

What to Pair when Serving Food and Wine

Try Bordeaux with short ribs; they go incredibly well together. The tannins and acids in the wine cut through the fatty ribs.

Try silky whites with fatty seafood. Chardonnay from Australia, Chile and California region go well with salmon.

Light red wines such as Gamay pair well with vegetables such as dark green spinach, collards, and kales. But acidic red like Sangiovese will match perfectly with veggies like tomato salads.

Light bodied reds like Pinot are excellent with foods that ooze off earthy aromas such as mushrooms. Also, sweet wines such as Riesling go well with salty cheeses.