A beginner's guide to pairing wine with food

Pairing wine with food is an intriguing art that requires both precision and skills. For perfect results, you need to understand that you don't just pair any wine with any food. Some foods will only taste incredible when paired with the right wine.

That is why you need to know the basics before you start your pairings. Luckily, this guide has every detail you require to come up with excellent pairings. All you have to do is pay keen attention to the details. When pairing, you need to know that:

Every wine has a specific taste

It is the most crucial aspect that you should always keep in mind whenever you are coming up with food and wine pairings. With practice, you will notice that each wine has its distinct taste and feel. Wines can be acidic, bitter or sweet. As you will see later, the taste and feel a wine possess is significant when determining which type of food it can go with.

The last thing you want is to end up with a lousy pairing simply because you did not pay attention to the wine's taste. Remember that sweet wines are sweet, red wines are bitter and sparkling or white wine has a noticeable acidity. This information is critical when making perfect pairs. Other terms you will come across are light, medium, or full-bodied. 

These are terms used to determine how bold the wine is. To know which category your wine belongs, you need to check the alcohol content. Wines with an alcohol content that is above 13.5% are known to be full-bodied. Those whose content range between 12.5% and 13.5% are medium-bodied and those below 12.5% are light-bodied.

Know the components of the food you want to pair

Once you know the taste and feel of different wines, you have to determine the composition of your meal. For instance, a barbecue has two main components- fats, and salt. There are also different spices used. Knowing which spices your barbecue contains will help you figure out whether your food is acidic or not.

On the other hand, foods such as fish and roasted vegetables have a lighter feel and are composed of fats and salts with a tinge of sweetness. This step requires you to be accurate in detecting the components making up the meal. The more precise you are, the easier it will be to pair your food.

Be conversant with the two main types of pairings

Wine and food combinations can be done in two ways. But first, you need two know about the two kinds of pairings, harmonious and complementary pairing. Harmonious pairing aims at creating an incredible balance between wine and food differently.

Complementary pairing is, however, more different than congruent pairing. It aims at creating balance by enhancing the flavor produced by the wine and the food. It can be achieved by pairing sweet wine with sweet foods.

Observe the rules of food and wine pairings

As soon as you can distinguish between different wine tastes and you can determine the main components in foods, you can go ahead and start pairing. It should be done by considering the rules of pairing wine and food.

First, you need to ensure that the weight and body of the dish you are serving are similar to the weight and body of the wine accompanying it. The purest form includes matching red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat. It will ensure excellent consistency throughout.

Secondly, you need to know which wine to pair with desserts. Such wines are known as dessert wines. For instance, if you want to pair a chocolate cake dessert that has a milky feel, you should use a complimentary wine that is a bit sweet to amplify the sweetness.

For instance, semi-sweet wines like Stella Rosa Black complement chocolate desserts very well. This way the full flavor of the cake will squash well with that of the wine, thus giving you an incredible feel.

Lastly, it should also take caution when pairing fatty or oily fish with wines. It is because if you make a mistake of pairing such food with tannic wines, it will end up leaving behind an unpleasant taste after consumption. Such a case should, however, not scare you from trying new pairings that are entirely outside the box.

Take caution of overpowering flavors

If there is one type of pairing that will definitely give you a challenge, it is one that involves overpowering flavors. When food has an overpowering flavor, any mistake with the wine will end up destroying the palate.

The problem amplifies even further when there are more than two overpowering flavors present. So make sure you use wine that is lesser bold. That way, the tastes won’t end up creating too much of a distraction.

Wine and food pairing often pose a challenge to many people. It, however, doesn't mean that you cannot be an expert in the same. Thankfully, by going through this guide, you will know precisely how to pair different foods with different types of wines. It will also enable you to expand your thinking and come up with creative combinations that will leave your guests gasping for more.

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