It can often be tricky knowing what wine to serve with food. Is this white wine suitable for serving with spaghetti carbonara? No definitive list or guide details what wine must be served with a certain meal, but some wines complement foods and flavours more than others. Wineware has written this How to Match Wine and Food guide to help make wine and food pairing easier.
To create a perfect partnership between your wine and food, it is essential to know the formula. It is a simple and easy formula to follow: choose wine and foods that do not overpower each other. With this in mind, you should try to:
These basic principles will help you successfully choose wine to accompany your food. Read below for a more detailed explanation of each point.
The body of the wine is the most important aspect when choosing your wine. Rich, heavy foods such as roast meats and red meat casseroles need a full-bodied, flavoursome wine. Generally speaking, this is usually a full-bodied red wine.
Lighter foods such as fish or white meats are best served with a delicate, refreshing wine. This can either be a light-bodied white wine or if you prefer, a low-tannin red wine.
Delicate wines and strong flavours do not go together. A wine’s flavour should reflect a meal’s flavour. For instance, if you have a steamed meal of chicken and vegetables, you will require a light-flavoured white wine. If you are enjoying a beef stew, you will require a strong flavoured red wine to match the intense cooking method of the meal (rich flavours and long cooking time).
The acidity in wine should match the acidity of the food. Typically, Italian food uses highly acidic ingredients such as tomatoes, vinegar and lemons, so an acidic Italian wine is usually served alongside the meal. It can often be difficult to find a wine to match dishes using large quantities of acidic ingredients, such as lemons and limes, as the ingredients are often found to overpower many wines.
This formula is simple; the sweeter the food, the sweeter the wine. For instance, sweet and full-bodied Muscat-based wines are great served alongside desserts and puddings.
Tannin and oily fish is a combination that can often create a metallic taste on the back of your tongue. It is rather unpleasant, and it is best to be avoided. It is suggested that low tannin reds are fine with meaty fish.
Fruity flavours in food are a delight to match. They work well with most fruity/floral wines, so you can easily enjoy a refreshing fruit salad and a glass of Muscat.
Spicy food is generally best served alongside a wine made from juicy, ripe fruit. Highly spiced foods can work well with Sauvignon Blanc or Chilean Merlot. In some instances, a spicy wine can complement a spicy dish. For example, a spicy dish can be served alongside Gewurtztraminer. A spicy wine generally contains different flavours such as black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
Smoked foods need to be matched with wines that can deal with the smoked flavour. Brut champagne is traditionally served alongside lightly smoked salmon, a delicious match. As a general rule of thumb, the stronger the smoke, the greater the oak can be. For instance, strong smoked barbecue flavours suit oaked wines such as Australian Shiraz.
We have a useful blog post on wine and cheese pairings if you need ideas for a dinner party or perhaps for a themed wine tasting party.
We are more than happy to offer advice on how best to match your wine and food, so please do not hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, let us know if we have missed any information regarding matching wine and food; we welcome all suggestions!
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