There are few things that can add to a meal as much as the perfect glass of wine. When done right, food and wine pairings can complement each other perfectly, serving as an excellent capstone to a great meal. of course, when done wrong, you can really take away from the joy of a well-cooked meal. This can get daunting, as there are some strange “rules” that apply to wine pairings. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to navigate any of these issues. Here are some do’s and don’ts.
Do: Decide What to Highlight
The intensity of a food and wine matter deeply when it comes to making the right paring. The last thing you want to do is risk overwhelming the intensity of the food with the intensity of the wine, as you can create a flavor experience that is too overbearing and diffused. As such, make a decision about what you want to draw more attention to – the food or the wine – and plan your meal accordingly.
Remember, your goal when it comes to food and wine pairings should be to find a food and wine that add and compliment each other – not risk overwhelming one another. Take caviar and a heavier wine, like a sauvignon. Combining these two would likely not go well, as the wine risks overwhelming the food. Instead, find a better match – one that brings out all of the flavors of the food – rather than overwhelms it.
Do: Your Homework
A quick search on the internet can reveal some excellent wine pairings. For example, this page has a list of some truly fantastic and useful wine parings, noting that some foods and spices go better with some types of wine. There are a variety of other websites out there that can give you additional insights, and researching specific types of wine is also likely to give you the information you need. This research can be vital if you are just starting out with a specific type of wine.
Don’t: Pick A Wine You Don’t Enjoy
No matter what type of paring you are going for, if there is a type of wine that you don’t like, just skip it! Food will make you enjoy the wine more, but it won’t make you like a wine you don’t like. As such, ignore what the guides say. If there is a wine you don’t like, pass on it. Instead, do some additional research and fine a wine type that you do actually like. This will help to ensure that you enjoy your meal and the wine that comes with it!
Look, at the end of the day, all of the “rules” for wine tastings and pairings pale in comparison to the importance of personal taste. If the “rules” say that you should have a red with a certain meal, but you prefer a white, listen to your mouth and your gut, not any “rules.” However, remember, there are other people who may have different tastes than you. As such, make sure to ask your friends or guests what their preferences are. If they don’t have any strong ones, it may be a good time to defer to some of the standard conventions about food and wine in order to make an ideal experience.
Related to the above point: Don’t make an assumption that your guests will accept your ideal parings. Creating the ideal paring is about more than rules and assumptions, it’s about the proper communication. As such, make sure you check with anyone you are eating or drinking with in order to get the paring right.
Getting the “right” pairing of food and wine is all about an individualized experience. Make sure you do your research, plan a menu, and above all else, communicate with your guests in order to give them the right dining experience.