Pairing wines and food can be quite the complex process even for a seasoned oenophile. When first learning about wine pairing, it helps to stick with the basics. While we’ve all heard it’s best to pair white meat with white wine and red meat with red wine, there is so much more to wine pairing than that! These are the top tips and suggestions for learning how to choose the best wine pairing for your favorite meals.
Red meat and red wine are one of the most well-known food and wine combinations, but there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to pairing wines with your steak. The mix works well together because the fat in the steak softens the tannins in the red wine. The tannins are the substance that makes a wine taste dry, so it’s easy to see why a juicy steak would compliment it! Depending on how you cook your steak you can choose different red wines. A cabernet sauvignon or dry merlot tastes beautiful with a grilled steak, while a fruitier wine like an Australian Shiraz would pair well with a pan-fried steak.
A bold, spicy meal like Indian or Thai curry begs for a light wine to balance it out. Sweet wines such as a German Riesling pair well with Indian and offers the palate a relief from the spice. Higher alcohol wines would only serve to intensify the spiciness of the food, so it is a good idea to pick light options like the Riesling. Pairing wines like a dry Gewurztraminer with spicy meals would also work well.
Struggling with pairing wines with spaghetti and other tomato-based sauces? They actually compliment Chiantis perfectly. The bold, fruity flavor has enough acidity to stand up to this rich meal. Adding parmesan cheese to your pasta further strengthens this pairing as Chianti and Parmesan is a classic pairing. A Sangiovese is another red wine that pairs well with tomato sauces.
The bold flavors of barbeque need an equally bold wine to keep up and Zinfindel is up to the challenge. The rich, intense, and sweetly fruited flavors of a Zinfindel is one of the few wines that can keep up with the smoky flavor in your favorite barbeque. Wine pairing with most sauces match the Zinfindel perfectly but if your barbeque sauce is on the sweeter side you may want to pair it with a dry Riesling instead. The flavor, along with acidity and citrus notes, will make that a better match.
Not many meals spark such a feeling of indulgence like a lobster dinner. To match the smooth texture and buttery flavor of the lobster, pair it with a classic Chardonnay. These complimentary flavors work in unison to give you a meal to remember. The acidity of the Chardonnay perfectly enhances the sweetness of the lobster and helps serve to cleanse the palate. Another alternative when pairing wines with lobster is a fruity Pinot Grigio.
Traditional wine pairing dictates serving white wine with fish, however, salmon is easily an exception to the rule. While the full meaty taste of salmon pairs wonderfully with full-bodied white wines such as Chardonnay or white Rioja, it also pairs well with more delicate reds. A low-tannin red such as Valpolicella from Northern Italy is an excellent choice to pair with salmon. Lambrusco, a bubbly red also from Italy, is a nice compliment as well.
Regardless of your favorite meal, there are plenty of choices when it comes to picking the perfect wine pairing. To learn more about wine, explore What Goes Into Making the Most Expensive Wines?