Food & Drink

October 4, 2013

Food and Wine Pairings 101; What Wine Goes with What Food

As I tell my students the basic premise of food and wine pairing is to harmonize and enhance the flavors of both the food and wine. The following are basic guidelines to take into consideration when pairing and matching food and wine.

Food & Wine Pairing 101

First rule of thumb is to eat and drink what you like, no matter what the “rules” are. And quite frankly there are no “rules”, just guidelines, to enhance your pairing experience. However, if you are willing to go on the food and wine ride, then you may want to apply a few principles to ensure a palate pleasing outcome.

First step on the pairing adventure is to loosen the reins on what you know about red wine being paired with beef and white wine being with chicken and fish. Yes, most generic pairings in these categories work but the logic behind it is “weight with weight”; heavy foods with heavy wines; i.e., filet mignon served with Cabernet Sauvignon; and grilled flank steak served with an oaked Chardonnay. Begin to think about the weight of the food when considering your wine.

Pasta with meat sauce or pasta with olive oil and grilled vegetables is a good example. Both are pasta dishes yes, however, it’s not the pasta that you’re pairing with the wine but rather the sauce and what you’re adding to the pasta. Ideally you want to pair your wine to the most dominant flavor of the dish.You wouldn’t pair the same wine with both dishes, for the pasta with a meat sauce you’ll be safe with a Dolcetto, or a Merlot and for the pasta with olive oil and grilled vegetables try a Pinot Gris or a Gavi. Armed with, the weight with weight knowledge, you’re ready to take on a whole new adventure with your food and wine.  Some quick points of reference when pairing are:

  • Salty foods camouflage the sweetness of wine
  • Acidic wines are softened with fatty or sweet foods
  • Tannins are more pronounced with salty foods
  • Sweet foods balance tannic wines
  • Heavy proteins such as beef will soften tannins (bitterness) in red wine
  • Spicy foods pair best with a low alcohol wine, a sweet wine and dry red wines
 

Sauvignon Blanc is planted in many wine regions around the world; Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp, dry white wine.

Guideline food pairings and matchings for Sauvignon Blanc:

South Florida Food and Wine Pairing

Meats & Fish: Shellfish, Sushi, Sole, Chicken, Pork

Cheese: Feta, Chévre

Fruits & Vegetables: Citrus fruits, Melons, Green Apples, Asparagus

Desserts: Lemon, and Apricot based desserts

 

 

 

 

Chardonnay  is a very neutral, and versatile wine that can be made in different styles, from heavy and oaky to lean and minerally. These styles are a result of the terroir in which they are grown and the fermenting process. Chardonnay is planted and grown all over the world.

Guideline food pairings and matchings for unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay

Meats & Fish: Salmon, Chicken, Pork, Shellfish

Fruit & Vegetables: Peach, Mango, Salads with Chicken (Chicken Caesar)

Sauces: Mild Curry

Pasta & Grains: Risotto, pasta in cream sauce

Dessert: Key Lime Pie, Granny Smith Apple Pie

 

Guideline food pairings and matchings for oaked Chardonnay

Meats & Fish: Salmon, Lobster, Scallops, Chicken Breast, Turkey Breast, Pork Loin

South Florida Food and Wine Pairings

Cheese: Asiago, Havarti, Mozzarella

Fruit & Vegetables: Asparagus, Avocado, Potatoes, White Mushrooms, Peas,  Squash,  Zucchini; Mangos, Peaches

Sauces: Mild Curry Sauce, Butter Sauces, Cream Sauces

Pasta & Grains: Risotto, Pasta [in cream sauce]

Dessert: Apple Pie, Pecan Pie, Butter Pound Cake

 

 

 

Riesling is a white grape, producing white wines. Riesling is an aromatic wine with flowery, perfume aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling.

South Florida Food and Wine Pairing

Guideline food pairings and matchings for dry Riesling.

Meats & Fish: Smoked fish, Crab, Fish Tacos, Duck, Pork, Bacon, Chicken, Dim Sum, Ceviche

Cheese: Soft Cow’s Cheese

Fruits & Vegetables: Bell Pepper, Eggplant, Squash, Carrots

Dessert: Apple Desserts

 

Pinot Noir is a black wine grape that produces a red wine, grown in regions around the world. Pinot Noir is a thinned skin varietal making is susceptible to elements that can damage, such as sun and fungal disease. This stunning, elusive grape is known for its elegance, Pinot Noir is a fruit forward wine with a flavor profile of berries and cherries, with hints of chocolate and spice notes of cinnamon, and clove; classic Burgundy will show off its earth nuances of herb, mushroom, and leather.

South Florida Food and Wine Pairing

Guideline food pairings and matchings for Pinot Noir

Meats & Fish: Duck, Goose, Squab, Lamb, Quail, Pheasant, Rabbit, Venison, Elk, Antelope, Ostrich, Buffalo, Beef, Lobster Bisque, Pork

Cheese: Creamy Bleu, Camembert, Gruyere, Goat, Brie

Fruits & Vegetables: Mushrooms, beans, Lentils, Eggplant, Fennel

Pasta & Grains: Wild Rice, Quinoa, Mushroom Pizza

 

Cabernet Sauvignon very much like Chardonnay is one of the world’s most widely recognized grape varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon is a black wine grape and is grown in most every wine producing region. Cabernet Sauvignon’s distinction comes from bell pepper, asparagus, jam, mint, black pepper, and eucalyptus.

South Florida Food and Wine Pairings

Guideline food pairings and matchings for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Meats & Fish: Steaks, hamburgers, Ribs, Sausages, Beef Casseroles, Beef Stew

Cheese:  Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheddar Cheese, Blue cheese

Fruits & Vegetables: Currants, Endive, Broccoli, Red Cabbage, Portabello, Radicchio

Pasta & Grains: Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Jambalaya

Dessert: Chocolate Cake

 

Merlot is a black wine grape that produces red wine. Merlot is used as a blending grape as well as a single varietal, Merlot is planted in various wine regions around the world. The characteristics of Merlot show strawberry, black cherry, plum, cedar, tobacco, blackberry, fruitcake, and chocolate.

South Florida Food and Wine Pairings

Guideline food pairings and matchings for Merlot

Meats & Fish: Italian-style Sausages, Braised Short Ribs, Veal, Pork, Lamb, Roast Chicken, Roast Duck, Turkey Guineafowl

Cheese: Parmesan, Havarti, Swiss, Muenster, Provolone, Asiago, Smoked Cheddar

Fruits & Vegetables: Fried Vegetables

Sauces: Bolognese, Béarnaise

Desserts:    Chocolate Cake, Brownies, Chocolate Torte

 

Zinfandel  is a black wine grape that produces a robust red wine; also known as Primitivo grown in Puglia, Italy. Zinfandel is famously planted in California. Zinfandel’s distinctiveness takes on red berry fruit blackberry, anise, and pepper.

South Florida Food and Wine Pairings

Guideline food pairings and matchings for Zinfandel

Meats & Fish: Grilled Sausages, Ribs, Blackened Fish

Cheese: Triple-cream and aged cheeses

Fruits & Vegetables: Cranberries, peppers

Sauces: Cajun sauce, hot salsa

Desserts:  Spice cake, pumpkin pie, gingerbread, carrot cake








 
 

 
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10 Comments


  1. [...] can be as simple or as sophisticated as you make it out to be. Just as I stated in my article, “Food and Wine Pairings, what wine goes with what food” the matching of food and wine is to harmonize and enhance the flavors of both the food and wine, [...]


  2. [...] can be as simple or as sophisticated as you make it out to be. Just as I stated in my article, “Food and Wine Pairings, what wine goes with what food” the matching of food and wine is to harmonize and enhance the flavors of both the food and wine, [...]


  3. [...] can be as simple or as sophisticated as you make it out to be. Just as I stated in my article, “Food and Wine Pairings, what wine goes with what food” the matching of food and wine is to harmonize and enhance the flavors of both the food and wine, [...]


  4. [...] can be as simple or as sophisticated as you make it out to be. Just as I stated in my article, “Food and Wine Pairings, what wine goes with what food” the matching of food and wine is to harmonize and enhance the flavors of both the food and wine, [...]


  5. [...] can be as simple or as sophisticated as you make it out to be. Just as I stated in my article, “Food and Wine Pairings, what wine goes with what food” the matching of food and wine is to harmonize and enhance the flavors of both the food and wine, [...]


  6. a charmed life

    now i don’t have to call you all the time!


  7. bobby d

    FINALLY! how long have I been telling you to do this….


  8. stayathomemom

    Love it! Professor…..


  9. SFLFoodandWine Editor

    thanks Joan!


  10. Great article … breaking it down and making it easy! I’m bookmarking this.



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