Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Food and Wine Pairing

Food and Wine Pairing

(Adapted from my Complete Idiot's Guide to 20-Minute Meals)

Most people select food first, then decide what wine will go with it. That is the perspective I take here, although it would be straightforward to plan the other way around. Remember that chicken can be served in infinite varieties, from a simple breaded cutlet (fine with Chardonnay), to a marinated grilled capon (hmm, pinot noir). Sauces also impact the weight of the wine you should choose. Finally, personal preference trumps everything. The whole point of wine with a meal is fun, pleasure and taste. If you like a wine-food combination (lamb and Chardonnay?) that the "experts" don't recommend, it might be worth trying the so-called ideal match, but after that stick with what you like!

Wine Guidelines

The old wisdom used to be "white wine with fish and red wine with meat." The conventional wisdom now seems to be to drink what you like; with whatever you want to eat. This freedom to match is appealing, not because I totally agree (the advice is still generally valid), but because it means that personal taste is now acceptable, and a person doesn't have to follow a decades- old rule.

Nevertheless, food affects the taste of wine, and some guidelines still apply. Have any of the following happened to you?
  • Before dinner you might enjoy a glass of fruity, rich pinot noir. Then bring out pasta with plenty of tomato and garlic, and suddenly the luscious red wine vanishes, leaving in its place a tart and tough imposter. How can this happen? The acid in the tomato sauce mugged your wine.
  • Those German white wines, gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling, that we thought were too sweet are suddenly refreshing and delicious when paired with curry, or a spicy Thai dish. The slight sweetness of these wines brings some weight and balance that fits well with the food's spice.
  • A delicious Chardonnay suddenly turns to water after a bite of lamb. Why? The wine was no match for the fat, salt, and seasoning of this rich meat.
The simple awareness that eating food with wine affects its taste (and vice versa) is valuable. Use this awareness to learn and experiment with what you like.

Listed below are some general suggestions for types of wine and the food that goes well with it. This is a very general list, remember that chicken can be served in infinite varieties, from a simple breaded cutlet (Fine with Chardonnay), to a marinated grilled capon (Hmm, Pinot Noir). Sauces also impact the weight of the wine you should choose. Check back again as we add recipes under each of the food categories.

Here's a classic match to keep in mind: Chianti and tomato-sauce dishes. Chianti, the Sangiovese-based wine of Italy, is often a light red with pleasant acidity (that's the bite and tartness you taste), an acidity that matches the acidity in tomatoes. Pasta and Chianti a natural match!

Unless you know what you're looking for, don't feel the need to spend more than $15 per bottle. There are plenty of tasty, high- quality wines out there that can be purchased for less than $15, and often less than $10 per bottle.

Wine, like food, is about fun. A glass of wine is a natural with a meal, and can help turn dinnertime into a quiet celebration. Anything that helps make a weeknight meal an event to anticipate is okay in my book. To enjoy wine with a meal, don't get preoccupied with details. Take some of the basic advice here, and test it out at your own table. Then, after you've tested a few different choices (I can't stress this enough), stick with what you like!

 

Hors'doevres

Desserts

Cheese
(choose wine
with acidity)

Spicy Dishes

Light Whites- Sauvignon blanc, Pinot Grigio, others  *
 Richer Whites-Chardonnay  *  *
Sweetish Whites-Riesling, GewUrztraiminer  *
Ligher, fruity reds  *
Rich Reds  *
Sweet wines-Sauternes, Port   *  *


 

Light Seafood

Rich Seafood

Light Meats-
pork, ham, poultry

Rich Meats-
beef, veal,
lamb, venison

Light Whites- Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Vinho Verde, others * *
 Richer Whites-Chardonnay * *
Sweetish (typically) Whites-Riesling, Gewurztraiminer *
Ligher, fruity reds *
Rich Reds
Sweet wines-Sauternes, Port 

1 comment:

  1. Prices are reasonable, food is delicious, and wait staff is sweet, conscientious, and adorable. I came here for an event, got contained to upstairs. Service at Chicago event space was prompt and food was awesome.

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