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10 Best Wine And Food Pairings

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Pairing the perfect wine with your choice of cuisine is an art. As much as it is convenient to reach out for the fail-safe options, a little experimentation now and then can help you develop a keen palate. There are some ground rules, like pairing lightweight foods with delicate wines and heavier foods with full-bodied wines. However, taste preferences are subjective. If you want to pair some BBQ ribs with a Pinot, no one’s stopping you.

A good combination of wine and food can complement (complementary pairing) or enhance (congruent pairing) the different flavors in each, adding a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to your meals. You can stick to your instincts and work through a trial-and-error process until you find a pairing that hits the sweet spot. Conversely, you can skip the hassle and follow some rules set out by the experts for coupling wine and food. After all, the tips to elevate your dining experience should not be limited to only the gastronomes. So, the next time you struggle with the type of wine to pair with your meal, let this guide be your sommelier.

Syrah with rich and spicy foods 

It can be a full-bodied or light-bodied wine made with the dark-skinned grape variety. Syrah has a flavor ranging from fruity and floral to herbal and peppery notes that turns out to be a good choice for rich and hearty meals such as BBQ, game meats, or roasted beef and lamb. Due to its acidity, the wine also pairs well with tomato-based dishes and the earthy flavor of mushrooms.

Strawberry wine with light and summery meals

The unique flavor profile and aroma of this wine, made from fresh strawberries in Gatlinburg, is as balmy as a southern summer. You can pair this sweet strawberry wine with fresh, light foods such as fish, grilled chicken, and salads. Strawberry wine can also be served with brie and fruits as part of cheese boards, where the hints of floral and fruity notes of strawberry perfectly complement the light cheese.

Chardonnay with poultry and creamy dishes

Chardonnay carries fruity flavors, ranging from lemon to pineapple, which can harmonize creamy dishes like pasta, risotto, and cream-based soups. It is a medium to full-bodied, dry white wine with hints of vanilla which complements juicy chicken and duck. The acidity of Chardonnay can cut through the richness of soft cheeses such as camembert and brie. The dishes lightly seasoned with herbs also pair well with this wine.

Sauvignon Blanc with fish and tangy foods

Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine with a distinct zesty and fruity flavor that helps balance the salty taste of seafood such as scallops. It can be served alongside sushi and sautéed or roasted fish. The acidity of Sauvignon Blanc synergizes citrus dressings and cuts through the creamy richness of goat cheese, making it an ideal pairing. 

Cabernet Sauvignon with hard cheese and red meat

The strong tannin content and bold flavors in Cabernet Sauvignon make it an ideal choice for BBQ, steak, and lamb dishes. The fat in meaty foods makes the high-tannin wines taste smoother. It is a full-bodied wine carrying fruity notes of black currant, blackberry, and cherry that complement aged cheese and dark chocolate. The smoky flavor of grilled vegetables also pairs well with this red wine. However, vegetables with high umami and low vegetable tannin (stalks and leaves) should be preferred.

Pinot Noir with earthy and savory ingredients

This light-bodied wine with low levels of tannins, when coupled with roasted and grilled meats, enhances their savory flavor. The acidity of the wine can also cut through the richness of salmon and tomato-based sauces such as pasta with marinara. Mushrooms also go well with Pinot Noir due to tannins and earthy notes in the wine.

Pinot Grigio with light seafood and appetizers

Pinot Grigio, also known as pinot gris, is a white wine popular for its fruity flavor and acidity. It has notes of honey with prominent flavors like lemon, lime, apple, white nectarine, and pear. Fish-based dishes (oysters, shrimps, and scallops), light appetizers (bruschetta and hummus), salads, and soft cheese, are some foods that pair well with Pinot Grigio.

Champagne with fried and salty snacks

This sparkling wine has a primary flavor range, including apple, almond, citrus, and cream, that lends it a touch of fruity sweetness. Champagne can also be served with salty foods such as oysters, caviar, and sushi. The sweet flavor can also cut through fried foods such as french fries and egg rolls. It can also offset the heat in spicy appetizers. 

Moscato d’Asti with desserts

Moscato d’Asti is a light-bodied white wine with sweet tropical flavors of oranges, lemons, honeysuckle, and peaches. It pairs well with foods bearing a similar sweetness as fresh fruit tarts, rice pudding, crème brulee, shortcakes, and fruit salads. This bubbly wine also complements savory snacks such as salami and spicy chicken wings. 

Zinfandel with meat and BBQ

It is a red wine with fruity and spicy notes. Zinfandel has a jammy flavor attributed to the aroma of blackberry, cinnamon, black pepper, cranberry, and licorice. These flavors are a good match for spicy meat dishes such as ribs, briskets, braises, stews, meaty pasta, and pizzas. Moreover, it can be paired with cheese boards with stronger cheeses (blue and smoked cheese). Chili corn carne and black bean chilis are other dishes that go well with this wine.

Final Thoughts

All in all, keeping some basic guidelines in your mind when pairing wine with food not only enhances your meal experience but also helps you in making an impression with some impeccable choices. The options are endless; classic grape wine pairings as a Sauvignon with steak and a Pinot Noir with salmon or some refreshing alternatives that deserve a try as Strawberry wine with light brie. Just remember to keep experimenting to make your meals delectable and truly enjoyable!

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