Successfully pairing wine with food isn’t just in the wheelhouse of a sommelier. Just remember these three basic wine pairing tips and your next meal will be incredible. Cheers!
1) Know Your Wine
The first thing you need to do when you’re choosing a dish to pair with your wine is to get to know your wine. What are the primary flavors—Bramble fruit? Tobacco? Loamy earth? Spice? And what are the secondary notes—Grassy? Peppery? Minty? Try your best to articulate these notes in your wines and look for parallels and contrasts in the food you are looking to pair (If you need to practice describing elements like these, come to Round Pond and and visit our sensory garden).
2) Like and Like Makes Less Like
We tend to think of complementary flavors as accentuating one another, but really; they cancel each other out. If spicy food is served with a spicy wine, the element of spice in both wine and food will be played down. Herbs are a great way to dial down any excessively herbal notes. If your wine has too much eucalyptus to it, add some tarragon or chervil—which have a mild, minty punch—to your dish.
3) Pair High with High & Low with Low
Pair high alcohol wines with high fat foods & low alcohol wines with low fat foods. Forget “white wine with fish and red wine with meat.” The principle to stick with is pairing alcohol content to fat content. The basic idea is that the higher alcohol cuts through fat and cleanses the palette, but it can overwhelm foods that don’t have the fat to mitigate the alcohol.
Simply put, serving a cut of beef with a low-alcohol wine will overwhelm the wine. As a general rule, red wines (which tend to be higher in alcohol) pair well with things like beef and even fattier fowl like duck, while leaner white wines pair well with leaner foods like fish.