Wine and Dine – Tips for Pairing Food and Wine
Some things naturally go together, like coffee and donuts, or pizza and beer. The flavor profiles blend together in a way that’s magical for the taste buds. Most people know that red wines go with red meats, and white wines are best with fish. For most non-wine aficionados, that’s about where the knowledge stops. Pairing food and wine can be a delicate balance at times. The trick is blending the flavor profile of the wine with foods that compliment it. You don’t have to be a sommelier to understand the basics of wine pairing. If you’re looking to make a good impression, here are a few tips to help you wine and dine your friends, family, co-workers, or significant other.
Basic Wine and Dine Tips
One of the simplest rules to follow is to try matching the flavors of the wine with those typically paired with the meal. For example, many love having cranberry sauce with their Thanksgiving Turkey. Pinot Noir typically has cranberry or cherry flavors, and so it also pairs wonderfully with turkey or duck. Many like to squeeze some fresh lemon juice over a fish dish. An unoaked white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc, will add the same citrusy compliment to the fish. Peppery reds, like a Grenache or Syrah, embrace the flavor of red meats. Matching the flavor of things you would normally serve with the dish makes wine pairing a simpler concept.
In addition, it’s best not to pair a bitter wine with food that is already bitter. Our taste buds are sensitive to bitterness, and drinking a high tannin wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, with already bitter food is a recipe for disaster.
Remember that you want a wine that’s sweeter than the food you’re eating. If the food is sweeter, your wine will taste thin and tart. On the flip side, pair an earthy wine with an even earthier dish. A hearty mushroom dish will compliment the earthiness of a Pinot Noir, making it taste fruity.
Lastly, take note of how spicy your food is. Alcohol intensifies the oils that give spicy food its heat. If you’re eating a dish with a lot of spicy heat, go for a wine with a lower alcohol content.
Some Wine Pairing Suggestions
Wine and cheese go wonderfully together, however, some pairings are better than others. For soft cheeses, like goat cheese or brie, try sweet or rich whites, something bubbly, or a dessert wine. For hard cheeses, like cheddar or manchego, sweet whites are excellent, but you can also try a medium or bold red. If you’re not sure, you can almost always go with a Rosé.
For beef dishes, medium or bold reds are usually the best. Try a Cabernet, Merlot, or Bordeaux. Chicken dishes offer a bit more variety because they can be prepared a variety of ways. Try to stick with the flavor of the dish. You can go from a rich white wine, like a Chardonnay, to light or medium reds, like Pinot Noir, Gamay, Merlot, Grenache, Zinfandel, etc.
It’s best to stick with whites for fish. Look for a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or even something bubbly like Champagne or Prosecco.
Pinot Grigio, Chianti, and Pinot Noir are common choices for pairing with pasta dishes. Chianti is an especially good choice if you’re having a red sauce with your pasta.
Finally, for desserts, you should pick a wine that’s sweeter than your dessert dish, like a Port, or Sherry. Chocolate can be difficult to pair with wine. Not only is it hard to find a wine that’s sweeter, but chocolate also coats the inside of the mouth, which makes it hard to truly taste the wine.
Wine and Dine At Tuscan Bistro Bar
Think you’re ready to wine and dine your friends this weekend? Don’t worry, if all the rules and pairings aren’t sinking in – Tuscan Bistro Bar has you covered. We sport an extensive wine list, and everything is organized according to taste. Not sure what to have with your entree? Our knowledgeable staff will be able to recommend something for you. Enjoying the appropriate wine alongside your meal can unlock another level of flavor for your taste buds. Stop in or make a reservation today.