Wine pairing is the art and sometimes science of selecting the right wine to enhance the enjoyment and flavor of the food being served. The aim is for the wine and food to be in balance, making sure that one does not overwhelm the other.

In the extreme, for example, a rich beef or lamb dish pairs best with a bold red wine. A more delicately flavored fish serving may yield a more precise flavor balance with a light-bodied white wine.

Some Basics for Pairing Food and Wine

Wine Folly, a wine industry website, notes that there are two types of wines: “food wines” make certain foods taste better while “cocktail wines” are best consumed on their own.

Most culinary experts recommend matching your wine selection with the most dominant element of the dish. Although we usually assume that chicken should be paired with white wine, the sauce in which it is cooked may contain a strong or earthy flavor of mushrooms, for example. In this instance, a more robust flavored red wine may be a better pairing choice.

Therefore, in many recipes, the sauce becomes more critical than the meat in deciding the best complement.

Two Pairing Methods

According to a Wine Cellar Group article about wine and food pairing, two pairing methods should be considered: congruent and contrasting.

Congruent Pairing: When the wine and food offer similar or harmonious flavor profiles to create a balance, as when creamy macaroni and cheese is paired with Chardonnay.

Contrasting Pairing: When the flavor of the wine happens to balance the richness of the food. In this instance, a sharper flavored red wine might significantly enhance the taste and texture of the same mac and cheese dish.

When you next visit Napa wineries during a Wine Country California tour, ask about some of the most flavorful pairings.

Creating Your Basic Wine Pairing Guide

Although not every combination is “etched in stone,” the following listing can help a host or food enthusiast to find the best combinations.

Exploring the “pairing universe” is part of the fun!

The following are the most common pairing suggestions, although adjustments are possible depending on sauce recipes, spiciness, and other flavor attributes:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon with Red Meats
  • Chardonnay and Salmon
  • Pinot Grigio and Seafood
  • Riesling with Sweet and Spicy Dishes
  • Syrah with heavily spiced dishes

Here are some pairings ideas suggested by Platypus Wine Tours, a premier Wine Country California wine tour company:

  • Pinot Noir and Mushrooms
  • Sauternes and Bleu Cheese
  • Big, malolactic Chardonnay with almost any rich or buttery corn dish
  • Sweetish Rosé with Watermelon
  • Sangiovese with Bruschetta
  • Rioja with Gazpacho
  • French Chablis with Oysters
  • Sauvignon Blanc with Haricots Verts & lemon or lemon sauce
  • Zinfandel with Venison and Blueberries

Some additional pairing suggestions from Wine Folly:

  • Lambrusco Dolce with Buffalo Wings
  • White Zinfandel with BLT
  • Riesling with Moo Sho Pork
  • Bordeaux and Beef Brisket
  • Zinfandel with Asian Barbeque

Join Platypus Wine Tour

To learn more while enjoying an entertaining and safe outing, sign up for one of Platypus Wine Tours’ thoughtfully curated Sonoma and Napa Tours through Wine Country California. With insights from your Platypus guide plus educational wine tastings at award-winning boutique wineries, your Wine Country California outing will be memorable.

To learn more about Platypus Wine Tours, a premier California Wine Country tour company, visit the Platypus website. You can reserve your place for a join-in tour or reserve a spot for your family or friends for a private tour.

For more information, phone Platypus Wine Tours at (707)-253-2723.