Great wine and great food. Food and wine. These are two of our favorite things, and when paired together for a delicious culinary experience, we are our happiest selves. The amount of information out there on wine pairings with food is overwhelming; there is a lot, to say the least. But for a good reason, wine and food pairings are a huge deal to many people.
The main objective of pairing wine and food is to enhance the entire experience. Essentially, food and wine can balance the components of the dish and the characteristics of a wine. Many pairings are a region's cuisine and wine merging due to being produced in the same location. Really, is it that big of a coincidence Italian food tastes even more delicious with Italian Wine?
While there are many suggestions from various sources on pairing food and wine, we have our own recommendations. We wouldn't be a leading wine company if we didn't share them, now would we?
Our first suggestion? Select a wine that you would want to drink regardless of the food. We often burn our meal, and frankly, things can go haywire fast in the kitchen. Therefore, if your meal ends up tasting like a three-year-old made it, at least you have a wine you enjoy. If you hate red wine and are making steak, a meal that traditionally calls for red wine, still drink white wine or whatever your favorite wine is anyways.
Our second suggestion is to look for a balance. Wine should have the same flavor intensity as the meal. That's why many people suggest pairing red wine with boldly flavored meats while recommending white wines should be enjoyed alongside lighter intensity foods such as fish and chicken.
Our third suggestion would be to identify the most dominant characteristic in the dish and then find a wine that matches that characteristic. Whether it's the sauce, seasoning, or cooking method, there is always an aspect that sticks out in a meal and can easily be balanced in wine.
Now that we've given you a few suggestions to work with, we're sure you're well on your way to making your friends or family a delightful wine and meal experience. But, because we're feeling extra generous today, below, we've outlined a few of our favorite pairings that we just know you'll love at your next wine dinner party.
Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese Appetizers
Cheese and Wine. There is nothing better, and if you try to tell us differently, we will fight you. Verbally, of course. Bev does not condone physical fighting.
Wine and cheese have been each other's sidekicks since the beginning of time. This is probably because they have a ton in common. Both take years of aging to get to the perfect taste and take extreme tending to by their artisan producers. Guess what we're trying to say: both wine and cheese are incredibly high maintenance, and you've got to respect that.
In addition to being a little bit "extra," wine and cheese go together because wine is sharp and cheese is fatty. Together, they create a delightful coupling of flavor and texture. Cheese enhances wine's fruity aroma perception while simultaneously reducing red wines' astringency and heightening white wine's taste. Being high in fat, cheese coats the mouth and blocks taste receptors to beverages. Thus, the acidity and freshness of a well-paired wine can penetrate through this creamy, delicious barrier to produce a more robust, fuller flavor profile and delightful mouthfeel.
Ultimately, wine and cheese pairings' goal is to find a wine that doesn't overwhelm the cheese and find a cheese that doesn't overwhelm wine. That is precisely why Sauvignon Blanc and goat cheese go together so deliciously. While the layers of goat cheese's flavor can make it a complex cheese to pair with, Sauvignon Blanc can bring its high acidity that makes them better together than even peanut butter and jelly.
Pinot Grigio and Fish Tacos
Who doesn't like a good, Baja-style fish taco entrée? *crickets* Exactly what we thought. Tacos make everyone happy, and fish tacos make everyone even happier. Many people are team beers and tacos, but we're here to convince you that Pinot Grigio and fish tacos are the new tacos and beers.
Seafood and wine are the perfect combination because wine can successfully bring out the best in food, and seafood is no exception. Dry white wine like Pinot Grigio pairs splendidly with fish like cod and tilapia. This is because the wine's earthiness intensifies the flavors of fish and, therefore, plays well on the palate. Once you combine your fish tacos with the dryness and smoothness of Pinot Grigio, you will have a hard time finding a more enjoyable tasting experience.
Chianti and Spaghetti and Meatballs
Italian food and Italian wide were made to be enjoyed together. And who are we to keep them apart? Sure, spaghetti and meatballs are not the most Italian dish out there, but in general, dishes with tomato sauce love red wines that are packed with acidity. Tomato sauce has a lot of acidity in it, and the best red wines, namely Chianti, high acidity matches the tomato sauce. Additionally, Chianti's earthy and fruity flavors create a match truly made in Italian food heaven.
Pinot Noir and Pizza
Wine and pizza together are better than beer with fish and chips. Seriously, the two were meant to be together. Whether you're ordering from your fancy local pizzeria or the fastest delivering pizza place, there are so many different wines that will match your pizza perfectly.
But here is a pair that we dream about on a regular basis is white pizza and Pinot Noir. When pizza divorces itself from the traditional red sauce and becomes a cream-based dish, Pinot Noir is the stuff dreams are made of. Cream-based dishes elevate the naturally creamy notes in Pinot noir. While many wines do go well with cream, like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir has delicious similarities to the green herbs (like tarragon) that often are also on top of your pizza pie.
Chardonnay and Seafood
Chardonnay and seafood are another one of our go-to pairs. Here are a few dos and don'ts of pairing these two pals. Chardonnay should be served alongside a mild, buttery, or creamy seafood dish. These include dishes with silky textures, like risottos and cream-enhanced soups, sauces, and pasta. Meaty fish, like halibut or cod, and shellfish, such as lobster, shrimp, crab, and scallops, are also excellent with Chardonnay. Chardonnay should not be served alongside aggressively seasoned seafood or super spicy seafood dishes.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Steak
Red wines, in general, are known for complimenting the delicious flavors in steak. However, Cabernet Sauvignon's bold and fruity flavors successfully stand up to the richness of an excellent cut of steak and any spice rub or marinade that might also be in the mix as well. Cabernet Sauvignon's tannins and notable acidity help cut through the fattiness in most steaks.
Additionally, Cabernet Sauvignon can also make an excellent and relatively simple sauce for steak. With a little melted butter, garlic, minced onions, and equal parts of broth and red wine, and you've got a delightfully creamy sauce to enjoy with your steak.
Rock That Dinner Party
Regardless of what you choose to serve, we're sure you're going to absolutely rock it! Whether you're channeling Sonoma or Napa Valley, New York or Tuscan, Paris or Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, channel your inner sommelier to create your own at-home bistro-inspired wine tasting with these food and wine pairings. Cheers and enjoy and don't forget to have a good time and share your wine country recreation on social media!