Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

One element that can make a fantastic meal even better is a great wine. Unfortunately it can be a bit difficult to wrap your head around the inundation of information out there. With so many brands, varieties, and flavor pallets, the possibilities and combinations can seem endless. However, wine pairing shouldn’t be a pastime for just self-proclaimed winos. With some simple knowledge, anyone can confidently round out a delicious meal with the perfect wine.

Basic flavors of the foods we eat are acidic, fatty, salty, sugary and bitter while the components of wine are categorized into sugar, acid, fruit, tannin and body. Generally when pairing wines, the goal is to balance flavor and find something that will complement the food. Matching bold flavors with bold wines and mild dishes with mild wines generally helps keep the meal in sync.

An unknown term to many beginners is tannin. This flavor component of wine is a textural element that makes the wine taste dry. An easy example of tannin flavor is unsweetened black tea. Tannin adds astringency and bitterness and is known to help cleanse the palette. Wines rich in tannins are great to cut very creamy or rich dishes. Tannins are found in the seeds and skin of grapes as well in the oak barrels wine can be aged in.

Finding complementing wines truly isn’t that complicated. Matching an acidic wine with acidic food is a basic standard as well as not mixing acidic wines with creamy dishes. Serving a sweet wine goes well with dessert. Another easy rule is to serve wine that is from the same region that inspired your dish; Argentinian style steak with Argentinian wine, pasta with an Italian wine, Chilean Seabass with a Chilean wine etc.

Below is a list with wines that best pair with specific meal types to get you started:

  • Sauvignon Blanc goes well with citrus and tart dressing and sauces
  • Pinot Grigio melds nicely with lighter fish dishes
  • Chardonnay conversely works better with richer or fuller fish dishes
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec wines are perfect accompaniments for juicy steaks
  • A dry Rose helps cut creamy or cheesy dishes
  • Pinot Noir melds with the earthy flavors of mushrooms and truffles
  • Riesling is a good bet for any meal that has a bit of spice in it