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A Quick Lesson In Wine Pairing

Wine

Enhance or Balance
Generally speaking, when paring food and wine you want to do one of two things. Either compliment flavors and create balance through opposite compounds OR enhance flavors by playing up shared compounds in the food and wine.

Sugar & Spice (and Salt!)
When looking for a wine to pair with spicy food try something on the sweeter side. One of the most well known food and wine pairings is spicy Indian or Chinese food and sweet Riesling. The spices, salt and warmth in these dishes plays well with a light sweet wine, something like a Cab or Pinot Noir might play up the heat in a dish like curry too much, actually making it less palatable by the end of the dish.

Fats and Acids
Fatty foods taste great when cut with an acidic wine. Think ribeye and Cab! A classic paring that stands the test of time. The acid and tannins in the wine actually help clean your palette of fats, making every bit taste like the very first one.

Break It Down

The easiest way to quickly find an easy wine paring is to breakdown the food into its simplest flavors. For example, a steak is fatty and salty. Look for the flavors in food you notice the most, sweetness, saltiness, spice, acidity, bitterness and fat, then identify the kind of wine you might pair with it.

Example: A mac and cheese dish is salty and fatty, a complimentary or “enhancing” pairing might be an oaky Chardonnay, which which is creamy. While a “balancing” pairing might be something like Sauvignon Blanc, which is acidity and possibly sweet.

But remember! There’s no wrong way to enjoy wine, it should always be fun

Happy Sipping!

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Nov 7, 2017