The 10 Wine Pairing Trips Everyone Should Know

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Wine Pairing Trips

When pairing wine, there are a few tips that can really help when you are out to dinner and want to create the right combination for Wine Pairing Trips . It becomes more interesting when you preparing the meal and want to match it with wine.  

Historical Matches

Wine pairing tripscan be done based on the color of the wine. This is the historical way to match it.  In this scenario, darker wines are always paired with darker meats. Or, to say it another way, red wine is paired with red meat.  This rule developed because red wines, such as a good Cabernet Sauvignon, have a stronger taste. If you think of it as “stronger” meats, then you are saying higher fat foods such as steaks, lamb chops, pork loin, and rare roast beef.  

Clearly this historical approach leaves the white wines, such as a good Chardonnay, to be matched up with lighter meats.  Fish, seafood and poultry are traditionally paired with white wine.  White wines tend to be lighter on the tongue. This causes their flavors to disappear faster than red wines. 

Modern Pairing is More Complicated

Modern pairings are more complicated than this simple red/white formula. There are so many different types of wine now, and U.S. diners eat a much wider variety of foods. Additionally, our wines have much more alcohol these days.  

Rule #1.  To pair wine, judge it by its characteristics not just its color. Is it light-, medium- or full-bodied? Does it have a light, medium or strong taste? These characteristics affect how long the taste will linger. Is it sweet, semi-sweet, or dry?  Less or more acidic?  Does it have light, medium or high tannin content?   These characteristics affect how it will react on your tongue when it meets food flavors.  

Rule #2: The wine should be sweeter than the food.  Many foods today are sweet and require a sweet wine. However, a fatty food such as a steak is still perfect for a strong red wine. A high-tannin, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon works because the umami of the meat actually brings out the sweeter qualities of the red wine.

Rule #3.  The more acidic the meal, the sweeter the wine needs to be.  White and Rose wines are higher acid wines and generally sweeter, but you can’t completely rule out light-bodied reds.

Rule #4.  The dish ingredients may change the wine pairing.  A traditional macaroni and cheddar cheese will match up to a white wine, but the same dish made with smoked gouda has a stronger taste that pairs well with a Cabernet Sauvignon.   

Rule #5.  The food preparation method may affect the wine pairing.  Smoked or grilled foods are less sweet and able to pair with a strong Cabernet Sauvignon.  Grilled seafood may be paired with a red wine while a buttery seafood dish is paired with white wine.  

Rule #6.  To pair red wine with fish, simply pick a lighter red wine and a meatier fish. A light-bodied red will not be high in tannins like a stronger red wine. This makes it less likely to leave a metallic taste, a common problem when combining flaky fish and dark red wines.   Therefore, you would forgo a Cabernet Sauvignon in favor of a Rose or perhaps Pinot Noir.  You’d pass over sea bass or trout and choose a meatier tuna, salmon or swordfish, preferably grilled or smoked.

Rule #7. Spicy seasonings or sauces will affect the best wine pairing trips.  Instead of a white, the sharpness of a Riesling or that go-to Pinot Noir may be a better match. Reds often clash with spicy foods, especially sweet barbeque sauces.  Curry tends to fall in the sweet and spicy category, demanding something sweeter such as a Moscato to adhere to rule #2. 

Rule #8.   The sauce or gravy on meat can alter whether a strong red wine is right.  Mushroom sauces are great with a Cabernet Sauvignon due to the mutual earthy taste.  However, a red pasta sauce is likely to clash.  A creamy cheese sauce tips the balance toward a sweeter taste and calls for white wines, i.e. something sweeter than most reds.

Rule #9. When pairing vegetables, you can think in terms of both taste and texture. You want to go for something light for uncooked vegetables such as crispy salads. You can go toward a darker, less sweet wine if the vegetables are grilled. On the lighter side, you’ll find Sauvignon Blanc often paired with green vegetables.  On the darker side, you’ll find Pinot Noir will provide adequate balance and taste.

Rule #10.  Try pairing the food to the wine instead of the other way around.  Read about the wine’s flavors and aromas then try to pair it with foods that will bring those elements to the surface.

This is a learning curve you can really enjoy.  You can experiment forever and never get tired of looking for that perfect combination.  It’s the perfect hobby as Wine Pairing Trips.

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