Wine Tasting Club – Food and Wine Pairing

By / Wine + Drinks / June 5th, 2009 / 2

“A bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rosé instead … It all depends upon your appetite.” Billy Joel may not have been thinking about pairing food and wine when he wrote the lyrics to his classic “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” But, he certainly managed to capture the essence of a problem that most people face when they find themselves staring at a menu.

What wine does one match with, say stir-fried shrimp, rack of lamb or the ever challenging vinaigrette? The first thing to do is to toss out the old rule. White wine with white meat and red wine with red meat made sense when whites were basically fruity and light and reds were tannic and heavy. Try applying that rule today and you’ll find your head spinning in the aisles of your local liquor store. Wines are now made from a dizzying array of grape varieties, and in some cases, whites can be much more full-bodied than reds.

“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…” Pairing food and wine can be easy. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Look for balance. The flavours of the food and the wine should benefit from the union. Decide what the predominating flavour is in the dish. Then find a wine that either contrasts or complements it. So, a spicy dish can match well with a fruity sparkling rosé or a spicy Gewürztraminer.

2. Pair like with like. Marry similar flavours, like smoky barbecued steak with a smoky, peppery Syrah.

3. Measure body and weight. A hearty beef stew pairs well with a full-bodied Zinfandel. But a simple sautéed scallop dish might be best enjoyed with a buttery Chardonnay.

4. What grows together goes together. Choose a wine that’s produced in the same region as the dish.

5. Celebrate good taste. There’s ultimately no right or wrong when matching food and wine. Go with what you like best.


Next Month: Savignin


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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