Food and Wine Pairing Simplified
Most wines are produced as an accompaniment to food, and there are many established guidelines for matching wine with food successfully. Originally, wine styles evolved to compliment the cuisine of a region, so this is often a good starting point for finding a good wine and food combination. There is no single choice of wine that must be drunk with a certain dish, but some are definitely a better match than others.
To achieve the best match it is necessary to analyze the basic components in both the wine and the food. The principle is to try to balance these, so that neither the food nor the wine overpowers the other. The main elements to consider are:
- Match the weight/richness of the food and the body of the wine.
- Match the flavour intensity of the food and the wine.
- Match acidic foods with high-acid wines.
- Match sweet foods with sweet wines.
- Avoid combining oily or very salty food with high-tannin wines.
These guidelines will help avoid wine and food clashes. Other considerations can help us find wine and food combinations where the wine and the food really enhance each other.
- Pair chewy meat (beef or lamb) with tannic wines.
- Pair salty foods with sweet or high-acid wines.
- Pair fatty and oily food with high-acid wines.
- Match or contrast flavour characteristics of the food and the wine.
These guidelines and recommendations should avoid disastrous combinations, but individual taste is the final consideration. Experimentation can yield surprising results. Try sipping an inexpensive Sangiovese the next time you eat pizza.