How To Pair The Right Wine With Your Meal

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Learn how to pair wine and food at home. This article will cover the basics of pairing, plus some tips for matching different varietals with your favorite meal!

How To Pair The Right Wine With Your Meal

Dedicated wine lovers with good taste have followed a certain protocol when picking the right wine with meals for over 5,000 years. These arrangements consisted of specific wines addressing individual food choices-red wine with meat or game, and white wine with seafood and poultry-while keeping in mind that wines were chosen to accent the five major food tastes: spiciness, saltiness, bitterness, sourness, and sweetness. Linking food with the right wine is a fine art which requires certain knowledge of different taste sensations.

The Etiquette Of Wines

The serving of wine at a meal has been one of the most enduring forms of etiquette throughout human civilization, enhanced with the chosen wines originating from the same area as the main dishes or local recipes. Wines such as Cabernet, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir are all quality wines which enhance specific dishes.

For example, there is nothing better than serving white Beaujolais or even Pinot Noir with a mouthwatering Salmon Tuna and Swordfish steak, while a lighter red wine can also be used to bring out its delicious flavor. For those who prefer a more robust flavor, a buttery Chardonnay wine enhances a Barnaise sauce on top of any red steak of their choice, cooked to perfection.

Poured in correct logical progression, if more than one wine is served at a meal, protocol requires that the wines are served from light to dark while sweet dessert or heavy wines follow last. When the meals are served, the appetizers or smaller light courses, such as soups, can be served at the beginning with a light white wine.

Following this, a red wine is served with a heavy red meat dish while a white wine or champagne is served with a main course of poultry, fish, or lamb. The after-dinner dessert wines of Eiswein, Beerenauslese, Moscato d’Asti, or Champagne Doux are used with sweet desserts that compliment their sweet tastes, while brandy and dry sherry are considered better with treacle or ice cream.

Vegetarian Diets And Wines

With so many individuals becoming health conscious in today’s world, a simple white wine can easily do a vegetarian diet justice. Most vegetarian meals are made from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes, requiring a white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc.

Meanwhile, heavy-tasting vegetable casserole recipes -Vegetarian Casserole or Spinach Lasagna – do best with a Merlot or Chardonnay. Strong tasting onions, leeks or green peppers dishes are brought to the surface in specific dishes with a Dry Rose or Sparkling Wine, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Muscadet.

The heavier Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz have a tendency to overpower vegetables, with protein-free vegetables tasting bitter and metallic with most red wines. However, light red wines such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, Tuscan Chianti can be served with vegetarian protein dishes like bean dishes, enchiladas or a meatless Italian pasta casserole served with lots of vegetables and spices.

The Rules Of Simplicity

To develop a satisfying relationship between wines and foods, a good rule of thumb is that a very strong tasting wine should never be served with a delicate entre, instead chosen to complement each other.

Think of the phrase, “Simple wines with complex foods…complex wines with simple foods” with personal likes and dislikes always taking precedence over protocol. As always, a good wine will always take care of itself in any meal.