How To Pair Wine With Food!

The secret to food and wine pairing is to find a combination that enhances how a wine tastes. Wine rarely makes a food taste bad, but a bad combination can make a wine taste terrible! Ick! Contrarily, the right dish can make a wine taste 10 times better than it does on its own. There are rules of thumb to follow in order to create wine/food combinations that work in concert.

The best food pairing is one that makes a wine taste juicy, fruity, full and well-balanced. In order to achieve that outcome, you have to find foods and wines that compliment each other.

General Pairing Rules

Sweet Foods: Sweet foods like chocolates, pastries and pies will make most wines (especially dry wines), taste acidic, bitter and astringent in comparison. However, pairing desserts with sweet wines will allow you to enjoy both because they are in the same family, so to speak. Going back and forth between the wine and dessert won’t negatively change the flavors of either. In rare instances, magic occurs, and sweet dishes pair with well dry wines (like some dark bitter chocolates with Cabernet Sauvignon), but some of the pairings are unreliable so try them at your own risk!

Umami/Savory Foods: Think mushrooms and hearty meat dishes. Pairing these foods with the wrong wine can make your vino taste acidic, bitter and astringent in comparison. Savory flavors pair the best with full-bodied, and high-tannin wines.

Acidic Foods: Like desserts, acidic foods pair well with wines in the same family. When thinking about these foods, you must consider the sauce or dressings that they are in, like a garden salad with Italian dressing. Thus, acidic foods should be paired with acidic wines. Going back and forth between the wine and acidic dish won’t negatively change the flavors of either.

Salty Foods: These types of food are a wine’s best friend. In general, salt enhances the fruit flavors of wine and makes them taste sweeter and fuller. Drinking a glass of wine with a bag of salty chips will bring out the wine’s best flavors.

Bitter Foods: Pairing bitter foods like broccoli or arugula with the wrong wine will make your vino taste bitter as well. The best solution is to pair these foods with non-bitter wines in order to bring out the best flavors of each.

Spicy/Hot Foods: Foods with heat will magnify the alcohol in wine. For example, eating a spicy dish with many wines could make your mouth feel like it’s on fire! Instead, you should pair it with a low-alcohol wine below 11% ABV to bring out the wine’s best flavors and to prevent the burning sensation in your mouth.

Here are some examples:

Above ALL else, personal preference is what matters. If you love the combination of sweet foods with super dry wines, go for it! If you love hot foods with high alcohol wines, work it out! These are only (scientific) suggestions 🙂


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