This is because of the varied and complex flavor profile that each grape has. Wine isn’t just red or white, it’s a spectrum of different flavors from dry to sweet, light to heavy, fruity to earthy etc. It should be noted that it takes time to understand the intricacies of wine pairing and these techniques are not perfect for every occasion but they will provide you with a few reliable rules when planning your next dinner party!What are the 3 best wine pairing techniques?
By learning a few simple wine pairing rules, you can elevate your dinner party to the next level. Whether you are looking for simple advice or elaborate suggestions, read on and learn how to create an unforgettable food and wine experience with the flavors of your favorite grape!
What is Flavor Profiling? This system of wine tasting divides grape varieties into categories based on the level of intensity they have in a wine. From here, it is easier to understand which foods will pair well with each variety of grape and create balanced meals for your guests. Most varieties are better suited for light entrees that let the flavor profile shine through while others are better matched with bolder dishes like red meat.
Least Intense Flavors- The least intense categories are those that feature lower tannin and acidity. These varieties complement foods like shellfish, chicken, light pasta dishes with creamy sauces as well as softer cheeses such as mozzarella or brie.
Light to Medium Intense Flavors – In these categories you will find subtle herbal flavors and pleasant fruit notes. These wines are best paired with lighter dishes like fish or maybe a pork roast with herbs and spices instead of heavy sauces.
Medium Intense Flavors- Medium intensity wines feature earthy flavors, meatiness and spice notes. This category is perfect for beef dishes such as steak or slow cooked pot roasts. The tannins and acidity in these wines will complement a heavy plated meal.
Most Intense Flavors- These are the boldest tasting varieties that have had enough time to mellow and have strong tannins or high levels of alcohol. These intense flavors pair well with smoked meats, gamey or wild meats like duck, lamb as well as hearty stews.
What are the best wine and food pairings? This is a question that has been debated among wine enthusiasts for many years. The answer depends on your personal preference and what you expect from the pairing experience. Some people may find a bold red with heavy flavor to be more enjoyable than a light white, while others prefer lighter flavors and may find too much going on in a heavy dish. The best way to determine your preferences is to try as many different combinations and flavors as possible until you discover what works for you!
White Wine Pairings- White wines can be matched with an incredible variety of foods so it’s important to understand how the basic flavor profiles will combine together.
· The lemon and lime notes in Sauvignon Blanc wines pair well with seafood but are even better with lighter meats like pork, chicken or fish.
· Rieslings have a pleasant mix of herbal flavors that compliment mushrooms, cooked greens, nuts and shellfish
· Chardonnay is the perfect partner for grilled salmon and light seafood dishes
· Pinot Gris and light red wines will go well with most fish based entrees like mussels or shrimp as well as chicken, pork or pasta primavera
· Sauvignon Blanc can be paired with many types of vegetables including eggplant, tomatoes, corn and grilled zucchinis as well as all types of seafood
· White Zinfandel will go with most light pasta dishes, chicken or pork medallions but it can also be a fun addition to a spicy Asian dish like garlic shrimp!
Red Wine Pairings – Red wine provides a wide variety of flavors that can be paired with almost anything!
· Zinfandel is a great match for spicy dishes with bold flavors like tomato or chile sauces. The sweetness of the wine will balance with the heat from these dishes but it also provides a fruity flavor and light vanilla aroma that goes very well with different types of cuisines
· Malbec is best paired with lighter meats that will let the fruit flavors shine through and it’s also a good choice for spicy dishes
· Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are strong, bold varietals that work well with heavier meat dishes like lamb chops or rib eye. These wines will compliment a full bodied cheese like stilton or even a nutty gorgonzola
· A Pinot Noir will pair well with most types of beef steaks and it has earthy flavors that can complement red meat. The tannins in the wine also work well for rich tasting dishes like short ribs or root vegetables
· Merlot is another full bodied wine that will compliment spicy dishes and rich meats. Some of the best pairings include dishes like duck, beef stew or a grilled burger
· Zinfandel is great for earthy mushrooms as well as barbecued foods like pork ribs, chicken or even a steak
How to pair wine and food?
Pairing wine and food is not an exact science but it’s a skill that can be learned with practice. To get the best experience you should try pairing a few different types of wines while eating your favorite foods! It takes some time to understand how certain ingredients complement each other so start slowly and go from there. You may even want to try pairing a few wines with the simplest dishes like crackers and cheese or fruit for an easy introduction into the art of wine pairing!