As we transition to warmer weather and carefully re-welcoming loved ones for measured get-togethers, create a new dimension of wine enjoyment with food pairings. You’ve been adventurous with your wine choices during the pandemic; renew them with simple guidelines.
Tart is Smart
The most universal wines to pair with food are those with a substantial acid backbone. The same characteristic that makes wine age-worthy is also the same element that makes wines versatile. Tart wines are more refreshing, crisp, and palate-cleansing. These wines won’t compete with your meal, and will often balance out fats or salinity in your food. Examples for whites to try are Chablis, Vermentino, or Alsatian Riesling. For reds, look for Red Burgundy, Pinot from Sonoma, or an Italian Sangiovese.
Generally speaking, a rich meal welcomes a more fuller-bodied wine, while lighter fare pairs with a more delicate companion. Almost instinctual, balancing the weight of your meal with your wine increases the chance that the pairing will work. Texturally compatible food and wine will work in harmony with one another, instead of compete. Consider a hefty Cabernet Sauvignon or a Nebbiolo from Mexico to go with your New York strip or a lively dry Rosé or Pinot Grigio to go with your salmon or ceviche.
Spicy, salty, or fatty foods have a specific relationship with wine tannins, those characteristics that can have a drying, or “grippy” effect on your mouth. Spicy foods tend to make tannins seem even more astringent and can also amplify the heat of a high-alcohol wine. Lightly-salted foods can diminish a tannic wine, making it seem smoother. Fatty foods, however, are the easiest to pair with these wines as rich dishes can refine the tannins, making them seem smoother. Try Merlot with a filet mignon, or a Chateauneuf-du-Pape with roasted duck.
When in Doubt, Sparkle
Finally, your go-to for food pairing shouldn’t just be left for special occasions. Break out the bubbles as your default companion to your favorite dishes. Champagne, Cava, or dry Prosecco make the ultimate partner for most foods from salty appetizers to roasted vegetable dishes to brochettes. The minerality, acid, and effervescence of these wines enhances the flavor of most foods, while cleansing your palate. There are choices with more residual sugar, but stick to brut versions of these wines to ensure your meal is a true celebration.
Want to learn more about food and wine pairing, and get recipes to use for your Spring festivities? Sign up for our Spring Wine Pairings Class 25 March 2021 at 8PM!
Your Jefas in Vino,
Martha and Somm Erlinda