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Pairing Food And Wine It's Easy

Updated on April 28, 2017

How To Pair Food With The Right Wne

By Sharon Stajda

Pairing food and wine is actually easy. I hope to clear up all the mystery about why certain wine taste better with certain kinds of food. Why can't we just drink any wine with any food? After researching the subject of pairing food and wine, I have discovered that wine connoisseurs present a very good case for pairing just the right wine with just the right food. In theory wine can enhance the flavor of food or obliterate it! So you must make the choice. Do you want a war going on in your mouths or do you want a peaceful dining experience?

Naturally, it would be impossible for me to cover this vast subject in any good detail, given the small space allowed here. However, I hope to provide enough information to "wet the whistle" so to speak. To make it possible for you to be able to pick out a good complimentary wine for a restaurant meal, and also to enable you to face that wine section at the grocery store with new found courage.

It may surprise you, but you may know more than you think, when it comes to pairing wine with food. When it's a chilly night in December, do you reach for a crisp white wine or a deep warm red wine? When you order a white fish, do you prefer light white wine or a dark rich red? No, it's not that easy, you see there are many white wines that would taste just as wonderful as a rich red wine wonderful in front of that cozy fire.

When pairing wine to food, there are some simple rules you should always keep in mind. Consider, is the food you will be eating rich in flavor or will that food be light flavored, and lean? Will the food or condiments that have been added to the recipe be acidic? Will the food be sweet or salty or spicy hot? Wines share all of these taste elements. Depending the wine the elements will vary. It's our task to pair these undertone elements with the undertones in any given food. If the pairing is successful, the wine will enhance the taste of the meal, and the wine itself will shine through with a wonderful flavor of its own.


Food & Wine Pairing Cheat Sheet

Please keep in mind there are wine enthusiast that do not follow any written rule when it comes to pairing food with wine, and will ultimately choose a wine just by the mere fact that they like the taste. That's ok, nothing is written in stone.

Roast Lamb, Game Birds, Goose, Duck, Roast Chicken; Roast Beef; Wine to compliment; Shiraz and Rhone Varietals. Also good with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Turkey, Sausage, and lean roast beef ; Wine to compliment; Pinot Noir, White Zinfandel.

Cream Soups, Rich Fish Dishes, Shellfish. Wines to compliment; Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.

Dishes made with heavy white cream sauces; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

Spicy food ; Riesling

Pasta with red sauces; Cabernet, Merlot or Syrah

Ham, Cheese , Asian Food. Wines to compliment; German Gewurztraminer, Riesling.

Smoked Fish, Caviar, Sushi, Prosciutto, Egg Dishes ; wines to compliment Sparkling Wines and Best with Champagne.

A cheat sheet is an easy way to go


What Wine Compliments Rich Heavy Tasting Food.


Red Wines Are High In Tannin's

Such as fatty meats, recipes with fatty heavier sauces, and fatty fish that are on the fatty side.

Let's start with choosing wines that will complement rich heavy foods. Foods such as meat with high fat content or recipes that contain rich fatty sauces, also fatty poultry, such as duck. Foods that are high in fat content will naturally coat the tongue with fat. So when choosing a wine for these heavier foods, you'll want to chose a wine that will cut that fat coating from the tongue. By cutting through the fat on the tongue, you will not only bring home the flavor of the tasty wine, but the wonderful flavor of the food you are eating.

So, we have to learn a bit about what property in wine is successful in cutting through fat. That property is called tannins. Tannins will clean the tongue so to speak, and let you enjoy the food flavors as well as the good wine.

Wines that are high in tannins will cut the fat. Tannins love protein, and when the wines tannins come in contact with proteins, they bind to them, and clean this works to clean the tongue. Tannins are more pronounced in red wines than in white wines. Tannins can come from many sources. Mainly, from the skin and seeds of the Grape in the form of Procyanidin Monomers tannins. This form of tannin is produced naturally from the grape skins and seeds. The seeds being especially harsh. The reason that red wine is more apt to be higher in tannins, come from the way the red wines are fermented. The red wines are exposed for a longer period of time to the seeds and skins. The oak barrel also gives off a form of tannin (Hydrolysable tannin). This fact making the tannins more prevalent in the finished wine. Keep in mind some red wines are lower in tannins, due to being fermented for a shorter period in the seeds and skins, and oak. One such red is Merlot. To compare red wines with white wines. Think white wines are made by extracting the seeds and grapes early in the fermentation period. Making them have far fewer tannins, and more acidic.

Here are a few wines that are rich in tannins, which are good choices when paired with fatty foods; Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel (the last two having a slightly lower tannin content than the other two choices).

Think Fresh Tasting White Wines Wine Foods That Are Of A Sour Nature


What Type Of Wine Pairs Well With Acidic Foods?

Let's now consider foods that are of a sourer nature. Foods that would be considered high in acid. Like salad with vinaigrette dressing, or fish with lemon or Dishes made with tomato sauce. The rule of thumb when pairing wine to foods that are acidic is, meet acid with acid. The acidic nature of white wines mesh well with acidic food, they do not compete.

Wines that are high in acid, to name a few; Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc. Along with Chardonnay, and Champagne, which range medium to high in acidity .( Take note most white wines are acidic).

How Important Is Pairing Wine To Food? What do you think, is it important to you?

I mean what is all the fuss about? Why can't we just drink any wine with any food? I love wine, and I have discovered that the right combination of wine and food, can enhance not only the meal, but bring out the wonderful taste of the wine. Do you want a war going on in your mouths or do you want a peaceful dining experience?

So what will it be--- War or Peace?

See results

Wine Wise Tips

  • The Way to tell how sweet or dry a wine is?
  • Look at the percentage of alcohol on the label. As a rule the higher the alcohol level the dryer the wine. The lower the alcohol level the sweeter the wine.This rule will not hold true of fortified wines.(fortified wines have extra alcohol is added).

  • This is not foolproof but as a rule a good way to estimate Tannins in a wine. Look at the color.The lighter the color, as a rule the less tannins. Remember fatty dishes need Tannins to cut the fat, so to say.

Salmon Entree

Need a Wine for That Special Meal?

Pinot Noir Eyrie Vineyards 2002 Estate

Eyrie Vineyards 2002 Estate Pinot Noir.

The region the wine is from is Oregon,as mentioned above its produced by the Eyrie Vineyards. The Eyrie Vineyards were the first to bring Pinot Noir vines to the Willamette Valley, which is southwest of Portland. Its 2002 Estate version bears the classic suggestion of blackberry, spice, and leather undertones. This wonderful blend is what brought Oregon's Pinot Noir to the world's attention back in the 1960s. It is wonderful, give it a try. Please stop back in and let me know what you thought of this wine?

Bosco's Italian Red Pairs Wonderful With Steak


Wine Pick Of The Season Bosco's Italian Red. Its So Good With Barbecued Steak

Tasting Notes:

I purchased Bosco's Italian red, made and age from 2001. I give this one thumbs up!

It is a fine wine, Dark ruby-red color. The bouquet is velvety and smooth, sweet to the nose, the flavor is dry. Room temperature is a good temperature to serve this wine, but remember temperature is according to what the drinker desires. It is spicy, with pepper undertones. Texture is full bodied, appears thick, with slight legs. I loved this wine. Will most definitely purchase it again and again.

Pairing Note:

I paired my Bosco Italian Red with a dinner that included a wonderful green salad, with an Italian red wine olive oil dressing, barbecued steak, roasted fresh corn, side of Dirty rice. Bosco's Italian red was so complimentary to this meal. All the wonderful food tasted came through, and the wines taste was stood on its own.

Wine History:

At the end of the XIX century, when the young Giovanni Bosco began to cultivate vines, the city of Castellamare Adriatico (that became Pescara in 1926) had no more than 15.000 inhabitants and extended on a narrow land. All around was the countryside and the "Lovers Hills" of Pescara were a fertile ground for vines: on those hills grew the first vines that thereafter characterized the Bosco's Family history. Strong and tenacious as the vine, Giovanni finally obtained a wonderful red wine with an intensive bouquet and a spicy taste, that, once named Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, became famous all over the world in the following century. It was 1897 and Bosco Winery was born.

In 1897 when Giovanni Bosco began to cultivate vines on the hills of Pescara. The business was passed on to his son, Nestor, and succeeding generations. In the last three centuries, the male Boscos have borne one of two names, Giovanni and Nestore, on an alternating basis. In the 1980s, a Giuseppe constructed the new winery at Nocciano. His son, Nestor, and daughter, Stefania, now oversee operations. The Bosco winery draws on grapes grown on 148 acres and the varieties cultivated include Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Moscato. But Montepulciano d'Abruzzo occupies the greatest portion of terrain. Annual production amounts to about 600,000 bottles a substantial share of which is exported to other European countries, the United States, Canada, Central America and Australia.

Baumard Savennieres Clos du Papillon Pairs Well With Green Salad

Wine Of The Month - Serving A Green Salad? Consider This Fine Wine

Loire Valley, The note of tropical fruit and a ripe intensity of a Domaine des Baumard Savennieres Clos du Papillon (2004 price $30.00) makes this expression of the Chenin Blanc. It is dry, and has a fine finish. This wine would be a good wine to serve with a green salad or light savory dishes such as frittatas.

So What Have You Learned? - Take my poll below, and see if you can pick a good wine for the presented meal.

A green salad with blue cheese dressing. A creamy bisque soup. A nice big steak, baked potato with lots of butter, asparagus with a cheese sauce. (hint think about your protein laden tongue, all covered with fat.)

Which would be your safest choice of wine for this dinner menu?

See results

It pairs wonderfully with Chocolate, and Cherries


Cherry Kijafa Cocktail


Desert Wine Recommendation

Cherry Kijafa - This is a very inexpensive dessert wine. It is wonderful! I mentioned above how hard it is to pair chocolate with any wine, well here is a wine that compliments chocolate.

Served cold or room temperature. Alcohol 16%. Serve Over ice or straight up. It is a nice meal closer, and greatly compliments chocolate . I like to serve it with homemade chocolate covered maraschino cherries. Please leave the stems on.

It mixed well with other beverages, I have added a couple good recipes drinks using Cherry Kijafa below.

History: The Winery: J.J. Jacobsen. Denmark. The company began making wine in 1841, Cherry Kijafa was one of the first wines they produced. Can you believe its still around? I hope you will try this wine, and return and give me your thoughts in the way of feedback.

Awards: "Vino Challenge International Superlative Wine. " Won The GOLD In 1999.

Availability: Generally available. Produced and sold in Denmark. Known to be distributed in parts of United Kingdom, Europe and North America. Regional. Available for on-line ordering in some markets. As a rule most wine stores in the United States carry it, and some supper markets carry Kijafa for the low price of $9.00 - $11.00

Cherry Kijafa Cocktail Recipes

Cherry Martini - Add a Chocolate Kiss

1 ½ oz vodka ( 100 proof)

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

1 ½ oz (cherry Kijafa.

Shake in ice in cocktail shaker

The Ruby

1 ½ oz Galliano

1 oz brandy (3 cl, 1/4 gills)

1 1/2 oz cherry Kijafa

1 oz orange juice

Shake with ice in cocktail shaker

Serve in a cocktail glass (5 oz)

Wine Tasting Cherry Kijafa

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    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 5 years ago

      Nice lens! This are really good pairs. I found them really useful. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Well, i love wine, if it is red or white. Pinot Nior is my favourite.

      If you get the chance check out my Trennkost Tabelle blog.

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      craigorr 9 years ago

      Very enjoyable and informative lens. Particularly liked all the cool things you have linked to on ebay and amazon. If you get the chance then check out my food and wine pairing blog. It's still early days for me but I hope to learn and add to it as I go.

    • profile image

      Keaka77 9 years ago

      Another Great Lens Shar... Great information.. Keep up the good work.

      Internet Home Based Business

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      anonymous 11 years ago

      Great topic! Good information. I enjoyed reading your lens!