The world of wines can be very intimidating, from crisp, dry white wine to full-bodied red wine. But as far as food and wine pairing is concerned, there are several rules to guide you along the way when ordering on platforms like Cathay. Some of these rules include the following:
Keep Wine and Food at the Same Weight
When you talk of weight, this doesn’t mean kilos or pounds. As far as matching wine’s weight to food is concerned, it is best to pair lighter foods with lighter wines while heavier and richer foods with heavier wines.
Lightweight foodstuffs, such as fish and poultry, are complemented by delicate wines. While white wines are an intuitive option, low-tannin and light reds work great too.
Chardonnay and prawns are rich and medium-weight, making them complement each other. Plus, heavier and rich foods, like meat casseroles, require a full-bodied wine, like Shiraz.
After you create a perfect balance with key taste components in the dish and wine, you may go creative by pairing subtle flavors. For instance, for sweet white wines, you can pair them with salty and sweet flavors. Cheese with ham and mac, for example, can match perfectly well with zesty white wines with sweetness, such as Riesling in a Georg Jensen HK glass. The wine’s acidity basically creates a complementary pairing to fat, and sweetness serves as a congruent pairing to ham.
As for red wines, you can balance them with fat and salt in macaroni. This can leave you with subtle flavors that pair with wine and cheese. If your macaroni has some smoked Gouda, you can choose Shiraz, which has smokiness. This smoky flavor often combines to have a congruent pairing, whereas tannin creates a complementary pairing with fat in your dish.
Choose Flexible Wines
While wines like Chardonnay are widely popular globally, it is among the least flexible white wines to pair with food. The likes of Chardonnays also have high alcohol and toasty oak, making them taste dull and hard when accompanied with food.
For more flexibility, you can buy a dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. Both of them have high acidity, leaving you to want to take a bite. But if you prefer reds with high acidity, you can opt for the following:
- Oregon Pinot Noir
- Red Burgundy
Buy Wines that You Can Enjoy
This might sound obvious. Though if you have been advised great pairings and are the kinds of wines you really loathe, regardless of how well they match, you will likely not like the experience. So if you enjoy a particular type of wine the most, it will be a great option to pair it with your meal.
Most people often get embarrassed that their food or wine choices may not be sophisticated enough. Wines are all about personal preferences. If you like taking your favorite Chablis with Pringles, by all means, be sure to tuck in.
Consider Pairing by Contrast
Contrasting flavors may make an enticing match. Spicy dishes with spicy wines are overwhelming. For instance, you can pair Szechuan or Indian food with sweet wines, which works perfectly well.
You can also improve oysters au gratin with crisp and tangy white wines, which cut through the food’s heartiness. Alternatively, you can pair sparkling wines with some fried dishes. This can be a champagne in Georg Jensen HK carafe with some fried chicken.
Prioritize the Sauce in Your Food
At times, the flavor in your sauce is the key indicator of how strong dishes are. And you should pair wine with a sauce instead of the kind of meat you want to eat.
For instance, chicken Parmigiano dishes with tomato sauce, rich cheeses, and fried chicken goes well with red wines, like Italian Chianti. But if you opt for white wines, full-bodied options, such as Chardonnay, can be more suitable.
Pairing wines with the seasoning or sauce is as well a great wine and food pairing tip for vegetable, rice, or pasta dishes.
Combine Several Flavor Profiles
Should you pair wine and food with contrasting flavors or complementary flavors? Well, since taste and preferences are very subjective, both have value.
Like-with-like is a perfect way to pair wines. For example, oaky chardonnays can pair well with cedar-plank salmon dishes. Or a cut-grass aroma of Sauv blanc goes well with bean-sprout heavy stir fry.
This is one reason people eat fruit salads or top cakes with frosting. When the same flavors interact, they will enhance each other. This similarity ends up additive to one another, whereas a slight difference is interesting and playful.
When it comes to contrasting flavors, you can think of creamy Havarti cheeses with acidic wines, such as Chianti. It is also worthwhile to note that wines pair well with chicken food and are also perfect to pair with turkey.
Pair According to the Vibe and not the Plate
When people ask you about pairings, your first questions should be. What is the special occasion or vibe? Plus, avoid asking the obvious, like what are you eating? Instead, ask are you entertaining your boss, family, parents, or an old friend? All these scenarios lend a totally different energy to your dishes. And it ultimately impacts how you will experience your wine.
For wine pairings in restaurant settings, consider which type of restaurant you are in, the people you are dining with, and perhaps the playlist. For instance, a Pithon Paille Grololo and Montescondo Chianti Classico are perfect matches for spreading five dishes on the table.
This as well applies to drinking out in restaurants. Good wine shops must ask you why and where you are drinking instead of asking what kind of food you will pair with.
Some advice for wine and food pairing could be overly strict. But the reality is that you may eat as much as you wish to and drink the wine you want. And at the same time, you need to avoid some pairings, such as tannic red wine alongside raw asparagus or artichokes.