Wine Matching 101: Best Tips To Match Food With Wine

How To Match Food With Wine – A Guide

Matching wine and food together is an art form. Wine is a delicate beverage, that when paired with the wrong food can make the taste of it seem inadequate in its glory. The problem is that many people don’t know what the best pairing options are when it comes to food and wine. For those who are looking for the perfect pairing, this expert guide will give you the best tips on how to match wine and food together. So, let’s get started.

Wine Matching Tips For Beginners

When Matching Food With Wine Look For Complimentary Flavour Profiles

1) When You Match Food With Wine Look For Complimentary Flavour Profiles

All food has flavour, yet not all flavours complement each other. This is the same when it comes to wine and food pairings. The idea of complimenting flavour profiles is to find that sweet balance between the food and wine you’re serving. When searching for complimentary flavours don’t be afraid to experiment with foods that offer a similar taste pattern to one another. Once you find a flavour profile (sweet, salty, bland, bitter etc.) then work on deciding what type of wine would be best suited to these flavours. For example:

Stone Fruit and Citrus Flavours – Stone fruit and citrus flavours such as apricot, nectarine, peach, lemon, lime, generally pair well with Chardonnay. Chardonnay, depending on where you source it from, can also have a nice buttery texture that coats the mouth. Pairing stone fruit, citrus flavours with a buttery texture together in a meal, some food dishes that come to mind are; risotto style dishes, be sure to include some sun dried tomatoes, apricot chicken or carbonara to go with that lovely texture of the wine.

This is just one example of a flavour pairing that works well. Heavier or richer food that offer bigger and bolder flavours such as T-bone steak or lasagne, generally require a wine that features big tannins that can take on flavours such as this. Red wine is a great option as long as it is considered full bodied, varieties like Shiraz, Malbec, Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon wines partner perfectly.

In general, the simplest way to help narrow down your choices of wine that you should use is by the weight of the food and the wine together. A good rule of thumb is aligning light food with light wine. If the food is heavy and rich, you need a heavy and rich wine that can stand up again these flavours.

2) When Matching Food With Wine – Add A Neutralizer

Foods that are neutralizers help to reset your pallet for another refreshing sip of wine. Cheese is one such neutralizer that enhances the wine due to its soft and creamy texture. When pairing wine and cheese together you can place the cheese into four different categories. These include:

Fresh – Soft cheeses that are spreadable. They aren’t aged and can be mild or tangy in flavour.
Blue – Often the salty, pungent cheese with a blue tinge throughout the texture.
Hard – Cheeses that are hard are often stiff. They often have a salty or sharp flavour.
Bloomy – These are cheeses that are creamy and decadent with a rind that’s soft.

wine cheese matching

As a guide, here’s some examples that may work well together.

cheese wine pairing matching

wine cheese pairing, matching

3) When Matching Cheese and Wine, Combine Salty Food Sparingly

Due to the texture of most wines, it’s a good idea to use salty foods sparingly as generally the pairing is very delicate. Salty items such as chips and nuts generally work well with sparkling wines. This is because sparkling wines tend to have a tingling and spritzed texture that usually helps to even out the saltiness of the food. Not all wines are suitable for salty food, so it’s important to do a small taste test before serving to guest as this will cause problems with an unbalanced meal.

4) When Matching Cheese and Wine – Taste The Wine and Experiment

When looking into new and unfamiliar wines to try, it’s a good idea to taste the wine first and really experiment. While experimenting it’s a good idea to work with one type of food category at a time such as seafood, red meat, white meat, salad etc. This will help you to learn the different types of food in this category that work best with the type of wine that you have.
If you change from one category to the next, you can lose track of which food option matches well with your wine, especially if you have a few different options that you’re trying. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Great food pairings have been made from experimenting with a number of strange and unusual food options. It’s only limited to your imagination.

best wine to drink with steak

Matching Wine and Cheese – Conclusion

Pairing food with wine is all about knowing which flavour combinations work well and how much time you have to experimenting. As said in the beginning of the article, wine pairing is an art form and takes time to master. So, are you ready to pair great food and great wine together?

Author Bio: David Wilson is a wine professional with over 20+ years of industry experience.  His love for wine has seen him travel and work in various locations throughout Australia, a four-year stint in the USA and a lot of trips to New Zealand.  He spent eight years with one of Australia’s largest retailers before working for the fourth largest wine producer globally; he is the owner of Block78 an Australia online wine company based in Australia.  If he could be a wine, it would be Shiraz!

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