Today’s guest post contributor is Shelly Flaherty, who is going to share some tips about matching your wine with your dinner. Enjoy, Robyn
Wine can truly top off any meal and add a finishing touch to your palate. Choosing the right wine is crucial though, as the wrong wine can seriously clash with whatever food you are eating. Depending on the type of meal you’re cooking, you should keep in mind various tips as well as look into what types of wine you should choose – beyond “white or red?”
If you’re a real wine newbie, then try and get yourself to a wine tasting class. It can really teach you a lot about what to look for in a good wine and also you will be shown what wines should be placed with various foods.
If you’re making a menu for a dinner, for example, then you need to ensure that you keep consistent with your wine choices. Don’t choose foods such as a cheese salad followed by a spicy fish course, huge variations in tastes will mean that you have to choose various wines.
You need to consider a few different factors when it comes to choosing a good wine, this will include the acidity, intensity as well as the weight of the wine.
Acidity - This is the characteristic you need to consider if your food is particular tangy or has a lot of citrus notes in. If you have used a lot of lemon, apple, balsamic vinegars or spiced oils then you should look for a wine that matches in acidity. Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir are both very acidic and will sit nicely with food of the same crispness.
Weight – This is as simple as how the wine tastes. A heavy red wine will not go well with a light and fresh salad. The same as a light white would not match well with a spicy and thick vegetable curry.
Intensity – Always aim to match the overall taste of your meal with the wine. A spicy meal should be paired with a sweet and spiced wine such as a Riesling.
If you are attending a dinner party, then choose some wine to give as a gift. You could even wrap the wine with a funky gift bag and tissue paper.
Shelly Flaherty is a mom of two and loves cooking. She enjoys long walks in summer and a glass of red with a good book.
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We also found a few more tips at www.foodandwinepairing.org we wanted to share with you:
Drink what you like.
What you like to drink always takes precedence over any recommendation that I might make.
Start by thinking about the dish or meal as a whole. What are its dominant characteristics?
Is it mild or flavorful?
Is it fatty or lean?
Is it rich or acidic?
With these characteristics in mind, select a wine that will:
Keep flavors in balance.
Match mild foods with mild wines. Match big, flavorful foods with big, flavorful wines.
(For example, pair a bold-flavored Pepper Steak with a spicy, bold red Zinfandel.)
Similarly you generally want to match the richness of the food and the richness of the wine.
(For example, pair a rich Chicken in Cream Sauce with a rich Chardonnay.)
You can refer to their Wine Board to see what different wines taste like.
Cleanse the palate with tanins or acids.
If you’re eating a relatively rich, ‘fatty’ dish and thinking about drinking a red wine
(when you eat a beef steak, for example) you probably want a wine with some good tannins in it to help cleanse the palate.
If you’re eating a very rich, ‘fatty’ dish and thinking about drinking a white wine
(when you eat fried chicken, for example) you probably want to contrast the meal with a refreshingly crisp acidic wine
such as a Sauvignon Blanc. You can ignore this rule for dishes that are just
relatively fatty – such as Chicken in Cream Sauce – which will probably
do better with a rich Chardonnay that can match their rich flavors.
Match Acids with Acids
If you’re eating a dish with a strong acidic content
(such as Shrimp with Lemon or Pasta with Tomato Sauce)
pair it with an acidic wine that can keep up with the acids in the food.
Acidic Wines and Cream Don’t Mix
Rich cream sauces will usually clash with an acidic wine like a Sauvignon Blanc.
Think about it this way…If you squeezed lemon juice into a cup of milk, would it taste good?
When In Doubt…
Remember that foods generally go best with the wines they grew up with.
So if you’re eating Italian food, think about having an Italian wine.
This isn’t a requirement, but often helps simplify the decision.