Cocktail Hour

9 Tips on Pairing Wine
With Your Meal

The thought of picking out a good wine can be overwhelming, but then having to pair it with your meal? It’s way too complicated! Thankfully, Leora from Public House Wine has 9 great tips for pairing wine with food that will have you on your way to sommelier status in no time!

1. Body matters

Light foods are best paired with more delicate wines, while heavier foods call for fuller wines.

To detect the body of a wine, remember: body, color, and alcohol are all correlated. So look for the ABV percentage of the bottle or the color of the glass to find a match.

2. Don’t worry about color

The old white-with-fish red-with-meat rules are dead. A bold Chardonnay can take on a duck dish, and a Pinot is a perfect partner for salmon. Focus on flavor and weight, not color.

3. Match textures

Think about the texture of a wine and dish when planning a pairing. Tannins work with textured foods, while smooth and silky go hand in hand. Exhibit A: A tannic Syrah will overwhelm a smooth cheese, but compliment a lamb.

(Side Note: If you don’t know exactly what tannin is, It’s that bitter finish at the end of a sip. Similar to the texture of a tea bag.)

4. Sparkling wines are killer for salty & spicy foods

When you’re eating foods with bold flavors, a sparkling wine will have just the right amount of sweetness to refresh your palate. Some of our favorite pairings are Champagne with French fries, and Cava with curry.

5. Sauces, sauces, sauces

When you’re approaching pairing, think about the sauce. Is it spicy, sweet, or acidic? The natural flavor of the food isn’t relevant, if there’s saucing involved. That being said…

6. Acidity and sweetness are partners in crime

Acidic wines pair well with sweet or fatty foods, and inversely, sweet wines call for foods with acid. Think Sancerre with rich goat cheese or Riesling with spicy Thai.

7. Acid loves its own kind

Acidic wines also match well with acidic foods. Ever squeezed a lemon on a fish, chased by a glass of Sauvignon Blanc? Nothing is more delicious!

8. Keep acids far away from tannin

A squeeze of citrus will make a tannic Cab taste more bitter. If you’re pairing red with a fish dish, make sure it has a creamy or earthy flavor.

9. And of course, enjoy!

A wine pairing can elevate a meal, but a “wrong” match won’t destroy a dish either. Wine is about celebrating food and enjoying new palatable experiences. Do yourself a favor and drink a rose in winter, white with steak, and a red midday. The only way to learn what you like is through experimentation!

– Leora Kalikow, Director of Communications and Sommelier at Public House Wine


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