Select Page

A truly excellent pairing of food and wine creates a proper balance between a dish’s components and a wine’s characteristics. While pairing the two can be difficult due to the complexity of the project, the basics are simple enough to catch onto. Here is an assortment of basic tips and the basics of flavor, with which to endeavor pairings.

Beginner’s Tips

First, food should be less acidic than wine. Next, the wine should have more sweetness than the food does. When it comes to flavor intensity, the food and the wine should be equal. Meats with light intensity, such as chicken or fish, are best paired with white wines. More bitter wines, such as red wines, should be balanced with fat for best results. Match the wine to the meat’s sauce. Generally, sparkling, white, and rosé wines will make contrasting pairings, while red wines make congruent pairings.

Contrasting and Congruent Pairings

Congruent pairings create balance by intensifying those flavor compounds that are shared. Contrasting pairings, on the other hand, create balance with the contrast between flavors and tastes. Beef and mushroom are congruent, with many shared compounds. Coconut and lime are complementary; they have few shared compounds.

Identify Taste Foundations

In the present time, it is known that over 20 different tastes can be found in food. These range from the basic, which includes sweet, fat, and sour, to the extreme, which includes umami, spicy, and electric. Only six tastes need to receive attention when pairing foods with wines: acid, bitter, fat, salt, spice or piquant, and sweet.

Wine’s Basic Taste Components

Generally, wine lacks half of those tastes: fatness, saltiness, and spiciness. It does, however, contain acidity, bitterness, and sweetness to varying extents. Usually, wines are divided into two categories: red wines, which are more bitter, and white, rosé, and sparkling wines, which have greater acidity, and sweet wines.

Food’s Basic Taste Components

Finally, take a dish down to the basic dominant tastes that exist within it. Baked macaroni, for example, has fat and salt primarily. Southern barbecue has greater complexity, including fat, salt, spice, and sweet, with some acid. Even those dishes that lack meat can be broken down to their base components.