Wine and Food Pairing

When you add milk to coffee it changes the flavor, texture and smell, and depending on how much, or what kind of milk, you add that can alters the Coffee as well; the same goes for wine and food. The wine can enhance the flavor of the food or the food could bring out the taste of the wine. Wine and food pairing have been around for a while now but the question always arises. What is a good pairing? How do I know which food goes well with what wine? What are the rules to pairing wine and food? Is there a secret? Well, the secret is that there are no rules to pairing wine and food; there are guidelines. Small tips that can help you figure out which types of food or wine goes well with each other. “There are no wrong matches,” says Leslie Sbrocco, author of “The Simple and Savvy Wine Guide” (William Morrow 2006). “But there can be magical matches, there are no rules but there are guidelines.” The pairing of wine and food is a creative process that allows the individual to combine and mix with their own decision. But just like all creative process there are guidelines to help you enhance those decisions. There are many simple guidelines to help decide which pairing of wine and food are good, such as sweet foods taste less sweet with wines that have a strong tannic taste. Salty foods makes the tannins of wines come out more. Salty foods cover the sweetness of the wine while enhancing the fruitiness of the wine. Small tips like that can be found all over the web or in books. is an example of one of these sites; on this site it gives a short bullet point listing of simple guidelines that can help a person decided what kind of flavors go well with different wines. So if you wanted to make something with white beans, the charts and guidelines would explain that Chardonnay is a good choice to go with. It doesn’t tell the person what to cook or how to drink the wine it simply tells them which ingredients would go well together. The list goes on, and this is just one guideline. Pairing food with wine is a very tricky yet fun experiment, there is one universal wine and food pairing rule. That one rule is this, a good pairing of wine and food is when the wine and food do not overshadow each other, rather enhances the flavor and boosts the other up. Now each person has their own preference when it comes to food so what one person enjoys can be different from another person. You just need to find the right pairing that suites your flavor and palate. So how do we start with picking the right type of wine? To beginning there are some key questions you should ask yourself; such as the weight, is the wine heavy, medium, or light body? What about the flavor? Is it strong or weak? What kind of smells does the wine have and of course what kind of flavors. After you mapped out the wine you can than add the right type of food that will match or enhance the wine. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with red meat because they both are full-bodied, strong flavor and the meat will lighten the tannins. It can also be reversed and you could start with mapping the food. It is a lot of a scientific trial and error. Next are some tips about pairing wine and food together, some ingredients, and type of foods, will mask the flavor of the wine such as artichokes, olives, vinegar, yogurt etc., these will become very helpful when you don’t want the flavor of the wine to come out. Whether it be for other reasons, such as your looking for the texture of the wine rather than the flavor, or it could be that the wine just isn’t that good. Cigarettes and cigars are the worst with wine, they mask and cover up the smell and flavor of the wine and ruins them. Cheese and wine are pretty popular and a contained portion in both will balance out the flavor of both, but too much cheese or the wrong type of cheese and it can cover the taste of the wine. It will not only cover the taste but also the texture and smell as well. Keep in mind every aspect of the wine when pairing food, for example the alcohol level in the wine can be a big factor, a low-alcohol wine goes very well with spicy foods. And sometimes less is more, to enjoy complex food pair it off with a simple wine, or reverse it and if you have a complex wine pair it with a simple dish. Pairing food and wine is a learning experience that grows with the person palate. With simple guidelines and that one golden rule anyone can become a master at pairing the two.