Wine Pairing Tips


Although we restrain from drinking wine during the nine days, we still have good food and wine on our mind to enjoy for the rest of the summer.

Usually we write about specific wines that work well with specific foods, but we thought demystifying wine pairing is long overdue. So in the spirit of a summer full of great wine accompaniments here are some easy to follow and simple wine pairing guidelines.

Grilled Meats: The tannins in red wine help break down the fat in meat so serve a wine with strong tannins like a Cabernet with thick cuts of meat. Both wine and beer release the fat in meat too and help to tenderize it so always use a wine or a beer in your marinades to get soft and flavorful steaks.

Fish: I like to serve crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc with light fish dishes like sole or flounder, and fuller-bodied richer whites like Chardonnay for salmon or tilapia. Meatier fishes like tuna, halibut or thick cuts of salmon are great with light reds like Pinot Noir. And for sushi, try anything with bubbles, it refreshes the palate with every bite.

Fried Foods: Acidity is important when pairing with fried foods. Try Dry Rose, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, but nothing too sweet. White Riesling has a touch of sweetness and works well too.

Spicy Foods: Avoid high-octane wines. The alcohol and heat of the food will accentuate each other and make for an overly warm experience for the guest. This is where the fruity wines or low-alcohol wines work best.

Chicken: One thing I love about serving chicken is that it’s an easy palate to pair. I serve almost anything with chicken depending on the type. Grilled chicken on the bone or chicken with heavy sauce can hold up to bolder wines like Cabernet or Malbec. Lighter chicken cutlets or boneless chicken is better with somewhat lighter whites like Merlot, or Pinot Noir.

Dessert: Make sure your wine is sweeter than your dessert. Wine and chocolate are perhaps the most perfect pairing.

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