Matching Food With Wine
Forget all that business about red wine with meat, white with fish.
Ultimately, it is your palate that dictates food and wine pairings.
There are no hard and fast rules on matching food and wine, just some basic principles:
- Always match your wine to the strongest flavour on the plate.
- Balance the weight of the dish with wine. Simple dishes, simple wines.
- Fatty, greasy and salty dishes need a dry wine with good acidity to clean the palate.
- Highly spiced dishes call for big, flavourful wines.
- Cream sauces and butter require wines with good fruit and some residual sugar.
- Ensure that your dessert wine is sweeter than the dessert; otherwise it will taste sharp.
- If you like your meat rare, choose young red wines with a touch of tannin. For well done, select mature or fruity reds with little discernable tannin.
- With multiple wine courses: Dry before sweet; white before red; young before old; simple before complex; and light before heavy.
WINE WITH DINNER
Dining out, dinner parties or meal-time gatherings are the perfect opportunities to pair specific courses of the meal or dishes with different wines. The following chart can serve as a guide for your wine selection:
- Foie Gras : Sauternes or late harvest Gewürtzraminer.
- Shrimps, Scallops, Mussels : Aligote/Auxerrois/Dry Riesling/Crisp dry white table wine.
- Salmon, Lobster, Crab : Oak-aged Chardonnay/Off-dry Riesling/Vidal/Full dry white table wine.
- White Fish : Dry Riesling/Dry Vidal/Seyval Blanc/Medium-bodied white table wine.
- Grilled Fish : Vinho Verde, Chablis.
- Game : Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Baco Noir/Full dry red table wine.
- Beef, Lamb, Duck : Pinot Noir/Cabernet Blend/Marechal Foch/Dry red table wine.
- Ham, Pork, Hamburger : Gamay/Cabernet Franc/Light red table wine.
- Veal, Chicken : Gamay/Cabernet Franc/Chardonnay/Light red table wine/Off-dry white table wine.
- Oysters : Pinot Gris, Dry French Chablis or Muscadet
- Cheeses : For Cheddar and Brick, full bodied reds (Cabernet Sauvignon/ Baco Noir). For Brie and Colby, medium-bodied reds (Pinot Noir/ Marechal Foch). For Oka, full bodied whites (Chardonnay). For Chevre, crisp whites (Seyval Blanc/ Dry Riesling). For Goat Cheese (Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé). For Gorgonzola (Amarone). For Roquefort (Sauterne). For walnuts & Stilton (Port).
- Dark Chocolate : California Cabernet Sauvignon, Sherry or Port.
WINE WITH REGIONAL CUISINES
Regional wines generally match well with the regional cuisines of many wine-producing countries.
For countries that are not known for their wine production, we offer these suggestions:
- Japanese : Sake, sparkling wines, or dry, fruity whites. For heavier dishes like tempura (red Chinon, Sancerre or Brut Champagne).
- Thai : Crisp, dry, white or slightly sweet wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Albarino, Riesling, Fume, Viognier. For beef dishes (a robust red, such as Shiraz).
- Chinese : Gewürtzraminer, Sauvignon Blanc.
- Indian : Low tannin, fruity wines with little oak, such as Merlot, Zinfandel or Syrah. Also, Chenin Blanc, Fume or Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino.
- Middle Eastern : Soft, fruity reds or whites, such as Beaujolais or New World Pinot Noir.
- Pacific Rim : Bold wines such as New World Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc.
WINE VARIETALS WITH TYPES OF FOOD
- Pinot Noir - Cheese: Goat, Époisses, Feta, Swiss, Gouda, Brie, Camembert, Triple Crème. Seafood: Crab, Salmon, Halibut, Ahi Tuna. Poultry: Chicken, Game, Hens, Squab, Rabbit, Roast Turkey, Duck, Veal. Meat: Beef, Lamb, Pork, Veal. Other: Chicken Stew, Coq au Vin, Eggplant, Omelettes.
- Merlot - Cheese: Smoked Gouda, Camembert, Cheddar, Gruyère, Parmesan. Seafood: Salmon, Tuna. Poultry: Squab, Duck. Meat: Beef, Hamburgers, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Venison.
- Syrah/Shiraz - Cheese: Pecorino, Parmesan, Smoked, Gouda, Dry Jack. Seafood: Salmon, Tuna. Poultry: Squab, Duck, Chicken, Quail, Pheasant. Meat: Beef, Buffalo, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Venison, Sausage.
- Zinfandel - Cheese: Goat, Feta, Smoked Gouda, Cheddar, Gruyère, Parmesan, Dry Jack. Seafood: None. Poultry: Chicken, Game, Hens, Duck. Meat: Beef, Lamb, Pork, Sausage.
- Burgundy - Cheese: Brie, Époisses, Triple Crème. Seafood: Grilled Tuna, Salmon. Meat: Pork. Poultry: Roasted Turkey, Quail, Pheasant. Other: Beef Stew, Coq au Vin, Risotto.
- Cabernet Sauvignon - Cheese: Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyère, Gorgonzola, Brie, Camembert, Dry Jack. Seafood: None. Poultry: Duck, Squab. Meat: Beef, Buffalo, Lamb, Pork, Rabbit, Veal, Venison.
- Chardonnay - Cheese: Gouda, Brie, Feta, Fontina Val d’Aosta, Gruyère, Parmesan, Jack. Seafood: Crab, Shrimp, Clams, Scallops, Lobster, Halibut, Snapper, Salmon, Sea Bass, Trout. Poultry: Chicken, Game, Hens, Turkey, Goose, Duck, Veal, Prosciutto. Meat: Pork, Veal. Other: Pasta in Cream, Vegetarian dishes.
- Sauvignon Blanc - Cheese: Goat, Feta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Brie. Seafood: Shrimp, Clams, Oysters, Sole, Snapper. Poultry: Chicken, Game, Hens, Turkey. Meat: Bratwurst, Pork, Veal. Other: Cucumber Salad, Greek Salad, Pasta with Pesto, Pasta with Tomato & Basil.
- Pinot Grigio - Cheese: Goat, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Fontina, Provolone. Seafood: Mussels, Sole, Sea Bass, Swordfish, Shrimp, Oysters, Salmon, Trout, Snapper, Smoked Salmon. Poultry: Chicken, Turkey. Meat: Ham, Salamis. Other: Antipasti, Pasta with Seafood.
- Riesling - Cheese: Blue Cheese, Cheddar, Feta, Fontina Val d’Aosta, Gruyère, Munster. Seafood: Mussels, Crab, Prawns, Monkfish, Smoked Salmon, Shrimp, Smoked Trout. Poultry: Chicken, Squab, Duck. Meat: Baked Ham, Pork, Smoked Pork. Other: Crab Salad, Fruit course, Greek Salad, Quiche, Spicy foods.
- Gewürztraminer - Cheese: Jalapeño Jack, Smoked, Gouda, Mozzarella, Munster. Seafood: Scallops, Mussels, Shrimp, Crab, Salmon, Smoked Salmon, Smoked Trout. Poultry: Turkey. Meat: Ham, Pork, Sausage. Other: Pâté, Quiche.
- Champagne/Sparkling Cheese: Brie, Camembert, Triple Crème. Seafood: Crab, Grilled Fish, Fish Stews, Lobster, Oysters, Smoked Salmon, Shellfish, Sushi, Tuna. Poultry: Turkey. Meat: Chicken Stew. Other: Canapes, Caviar, Egg Dishes, Foie Gras, Fondue, Omelette, Pasta with Seafood, Pâté, Soufflés, Snails, Tapas, Vegetarian dishes, Figs, Ice Cream, Gelato.
- White Zinfandel - Cheese: Cheddar, Mozzarella, Jack. Seafood: Crab, Shrimp. Poultry: Chicken, Turkey. Meat: Baked Ham, Pork.
- Syrah Rosé - Cheese: Goat, Parmesan, Jack. Seafood: None. Poultry: Chicken, Turkey. Meat: Ham, Ribs, Burgers, Sausage.
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