Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Fabio Viviani's Wine 101 | 0 comments

A delicious meal calls for some delicious wine. A bad meal calls for some delicious wine. Every meal could use some wine! I am a huge fan of pairing a wine with every meal (except maybe breakfast, because that may be frowned upon).
There are endless possibilities of food and wine combinations out there. There is a wine for every food and a food for every glass of wine. And if you keep reading, I will give you some basic pairing lessons, rules, and simple guidelines to delight your palate.
Now, most obviously, matching the perfect wine to whatever dish you are eating is the tricky part of pairing. Both food and wine have several distinct flavor components that should be considered when sitting down to a meal and consequently matched with each other. Food will either be fatty, acidic, salty, sugary, or bitter. Or of course, any combination of all of those components if your food is eclectic.
Wine, on the other hand, contains sugar, acid, fruit, tannins, and alcohol. Again, with some possible flavor combinations. The trick is to find a food component that matches perfectly with a wine component. Doesn’t that sound simple enough? Sure it does! That really is the most basic guideline there is. Please keep in mind that in order to match food to wine, you must be knowledgeable in the distinct flavor differences between white wine and red wine. However, the bottom line is, if you have a basic knowledge of both wine and food, you can make remarkable pairings every time.
Before we begin, keep in mind that a basic pairing rule is to match light food with light wine and heavy food with heavy wine. Easy, right? It really is.
Let’s start with some basics with the above food components.
Fatty foods, such as red meat like steak and pork, need to be cut with tannins and have their rich flavors matched. This is why steak restaurants have such extensive red wine lists. They go well together. A perfect medium steak paired with a deep, rich red wine with a lot of tannins, like Cabernet, is an extremely decadent meal. A nice merlot would be good as well.
Acidic food usually falls into the category of lighter foods, like salads with a lemon or vinaigrette based dressing. Or a summer shrimp salad perhaps. Light food equals light wine. Remember our basic wine rule? Try a light Sauvignon Blanc with acidic food for a balance of flavors.
Salty foods are usually harder to match. Think fried foods, which aren’t exactly a fine wine type of food. Not so much your everyday potato chip, but think of bleu cheese, oysters, or even fried calamari. Champagne and sparkling wines are actually really good with salty foods. The carbonation and yeast is similar to beer, which everyone loves with fried food, and will strip the salty flavor from your mouth and add more texture and flavor.
A simple sweet food rule is to ensure that your wine is sweeter than your dessert. If it isn’t, your wine will be stripped away of its sweetness, leaving it tasting bitter and not wonderful like all dessert and dessert wine should be. Any dessert wine or sweet wine should go well with dessert. Use your best judgement, of course.
Bitter food in general is not good food, which means that delicious wine probably doesn’t go well with any bitter food. Bitter wine is the result of unripe bitter grapes, which is a big no as well and should be avoided.
Now that we have the basic flavors down, let’s move on to more specific wines and the type of food that goes well with them.
Pinot Noir goes well with earthy food like mushrooms and truffles.
Chardonnay pairs well with fatty fish. Like we already went over, a bubbly champagne will be delectable with something salty.
Cabernet Sauvignon and numerous Bordeaux blends will make your steak taste even better. Try a Zinfandel with a pâté. Syrah goes splendidly with foods that have a lot of spices.
Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with tangy foods.
Dry Rosé is great with most cheese.
Pinot Grigio is best with light seafood.
These are the typical pairings that food and wine experts have painstakingly grouped together for you. Doesn’t that sound like an excellent job? But don’t take my word for it. The best part is to go out and try them for yourself! These basic wine and flavor rules will definitely get you started on making the perfect food and wine parings for your next meal.
By the way, if you enjoyed learning a little bit here, and want to learn more, we are coming out with a webinar called WINE: MASTER THE WINE GAME! Be sure to visit to learn more.