Pairing food and wine is an art. To create a pleasurable dining experience, there are some basic considerations to understanding how food enhances the taste of wine, and vice versa. The goal is to find balance and synergy, keeping in mind that this process is one of personal preferences. Success is achieved when you find a combination that is pleasing to your palate.
Here are some suggestions on how to pair food and wine, so that they may accentuate the flavors in one another and as a result, taste better.
Consider how the dish is being prepared, and if there will be a dominate seasoning, sauce or flavor. Delicate foods should be served with a delicate wine, while heavy dishes go better with heavy full bodied wine.
Keep in mind how the wine will react with the food. For example, sweet foods will taste less sweet with a wine high in tannins. While salty foods offset the sweetness and emphasize the fruit in sweet wines.
Bring wine and food from the same geographical region together. It is natural for these combinations to work, especially with the culinary history in certain wine-producing regions around the world.
For wine and cheese pairings, white wines compliment softer cheeses, while red wines taste better with hard cheeses. A Chardonnay, for example, enhances the flavors in a provolone or gruyere cheese. While a Merlot pairs well with brie.
Below are some suggestions for pairing wine and food:
Chardonnay- salmon, shellfish, veal, grilled chicken, grilled fish, cream sauces
Sauvignon Blanc- fruit, white or light fish, lemon based sauces
Pinot Grigio- turkey, shrimp, veal, cream sauces
Dry Riesling- shrimp, lobster, chicken
Zinfandel- tomato pasta dishes, pizza, pesto, chicken with heavy sauces
Dry Rose- salads, light spicy food, pasta salads
Cabernet Sauvignon- red meats, roast, dark chocolate, lamb
Syrah/Shiraz- sausage, stew, peppered red meats, spicy pizzas
Pinot Noir- salmon, light meats, chicken, tuna, beef stroganoff
Merlot- pasta dishes, game birds, smoked or grilled meats, chicken
These are only starting points for wine and food pairings. Experimentation is the key to finding a combination that fits your personality and works best for you.