Basic Wine & Food Pairing

When hosting a get-together in your home, the wine is nearly as important as the food. Wine and food will complement one another, when paired properly, to enhance each other’s flavors. Many people are intimidated by wine; after all, sommeliers spend years honing their craft. However, non-sommeliers can still successfully pair food and wine together for a delicious meal.

Flavor Profiles

The term ‘flavor profiles’ is something you’ll hear a lot when researching wine and food pairings. Understanding flavor profiles and which pair well together is the main idea between food and wine pairings. There are six main profiles:

  • When a wine is high in acidity, it pairs best with foods that are fatty and sweet.
  • The wine can literally taste ‘flabby’ when it’s paired with a fatty food. Pair fatty foods with a wine high in acid or alcohol to complement each other.
  • Also known as bitter, this type of wine pairs best with sweet flavors.
  • Be careful when pairing salty foods with wine. Heavily salted foods could be too strong for some wines with low acidity.
  • Pair either a sweet wine with an acidic food, or an acidic wine with sweet food for the best complementary flavors.
  • When used with food, it can balance the sweetness of a dessert. Or, alcohol can ease the taste of fat in food.

Pairing Ideas

By following the aforementioned flavor profiles, you will have a starting point when creating your own pairing menu. Here are some unique food and wine pairing techniques that will help get you started:

  • By Region. This is a popular way to pair food and wine, and it also may be one of the easier methods. For example, host a sit-down Italian dinner paired with wines exclusively from Italy. Or, do some more research and pair California vineyard wines with almonds or fruit native to the state.
  • Acid and Acid. All fruit is acidic, so consider pairing apples, grapes, and berries with a variety of wines. The trick here is to make sure the food is not as acidic as the wine, or else the wine will lack a pop.
  • Salty and Sweet. Asian food is the perfect backdrop to experience sweet wines. For example, try a Moscato to balance out the robust flavor in Pad Thai.
  • Fat and Tannic. Whenever you’re at a steakhouse, you’re usually encouraged to pair the fatty steak with a strong glass of red wine. This is why: the bitterness of the wine helps to ease the fat flavor, making the meat and wine flourish.

These are just a few ideas to get a non-sommelier interested in experiencing the way wine and food bring out the flavors of the other. Get creative and have fun noticing how the wine and food taste better with the correct pairing. When in doubt, head to your local wine shop; the sommeliers will definitely delight in helping you choose the best pairings for your party. Or, hire a caterer to pair the wine and food for you, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the meal. Contact Woodman’s of Essex today for more information.

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