When it comes to pairing food with wine, many people feel completely and utterly intimidated. However, you don’t have to worry about doing something “right” or “wrong” when it comes to pairing foods with wines. The number one rule when it comes to food and wine pairings is to pair what you like. If you are looking for a little guidance, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite wine pairings.
Champagne and Caviar
Yes it may sound a bit snobby, but there is a reason that champagne and caviar have been paired together since ancient Russian Czars paired these two together. Champagne can pair easily with almost any dish because it has a lower alcohol content, bubbly texture and a refreshing, not overpowering, acidity. Caviar by itself can be an acquired taste as it is salty, oily and has an entirely unique texture. But when put together, Champagne is absolutely perfect for caviar because the acidity of the Champagne helps dissolve any weird, overwhelming fishy tastes. This crisp, refreshing pairing is a truly classic food and wine pairing.
Sauternes and Foie Gras
Another classic food and wine pairing is a rich Sauternes and foie gras. Sauternes is produced in the Sauternes region of France using the Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The result is an impressively sweet wine with flavors and notes of peaches, apricots and honey. The sweetness of this wine is a result of the “noble mold,” Botrytis. Botrytis does not occur everywhere in the world, as it is produced when moisture meets the sun at the precisely correct time to create the perfect mold. Foie gras is a delicacy made from livers of ducks or geese. The result is a remarkably rich dish that requires a rich wine to meet its own richness. The sweetness of a good Sauternes cut through the rich foie gras to create an impeccable pairing. It is important to note that Sauternes can be quite a bit more expensive than other wine varieties because of the rareness of Botrytis.
Chardonnay and Lobster
Chardonnay is a rich, buttery wine produced around the world. California Chardonnays feature the aforementioned buttery richness and tropical fruit. The result is a big, rich Chardonnay. Lobster is a bit heavier than most seafood, so it requires a wine that has more weight than other seafood while still complimenting flavors of lobster. Additionally, lobster is most commonly served alongside a large amount of melted butter, which requires a special wine as well. The Chardonnays produced in California are buttery enough to stand up to lobster yet sweet enough to compliment lobster perfectly.
Some basic wine pairing tips are:
- Generally speaking, wine should match the color of the meat
- High tannin wines require rich, meaty foods
- Wines that feature earthy flavors go well with foods that have earthy flavors
- Salads tend to work well with wines that are high in acidity
- Dessert wines should be a sweeter wine
As we mentioned before, the perfect pairing for you is a wine and a food that you love. For the most intense flavor combination, take a bite of your food, a sip of your wine and chew together to create entirely new flavors and textures.