If you are a wine lover and you haven’t heard about wine pairing, you must have been living under a rock for the past many years. After all, how could wine and food ever have been paired? It just doesn’t seem possible! Well, wine and food do make such a good match, but many wine enthusiasts would argue otherwise. The two complement each other in such a way that it’s hard to imagine either one of them without the other. So the righteous thinking went into the oven and the wine pairing chart came out of the oven.
Then it finally dawned on the wine-drinking world that not everybody has the same palate. Or tastes. And so the term wino-tasting became obsolete. Then a better term slowly came on the scene, more refined, more elegant, and more appropriate for what wine pairing signifies: hummus with grilled chicken.
As the wine world grew more sophisticated, it realized there was more to wine pairing than red wine with spicy food. Indeed, spicy food can also be refreshing, depending on the brand of wine. So then the wine pairing guide was born. Now, the basics of wine pairing are pretty simple. The spices or flavour profiles that work best with certain foods will always be present.
Wine Pairing Basics
Also, wine pairing basics teach you that fruit flavours and floral flavours go well together. Of course, wine experts know that some wine flavours and aromas are complementary to some dishes, but some have more impact than others. These include fruity flavours, like grapefruit or orange, as well as citrusy flavours, such as lemon or lime. While a wine with a slight hint of hop or Rosemary may be better with a dish that features spices like basil or thyme, a wine with a bolder taste, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, would be better with a buttery vegetable dish.
Another wine pairing basic is to know which flavour best pairs with which food. This is because every winemaker has their wine blend, which means they have several options for creating the wine flavours that are ideal for specific dishes. When you see a wine labelled as a “suitability wine”, this means that it matches most food items in its category.
However, finding the right wine pairing doesn’t always come easy. After all, not all dishes are served at the right temperature. For example, if you’re having your meal with French fries and you pour your wine right out of the bottle, you might not get the right flavour from the wine, since it’s too hot.
A great wine pairing for French fries is something made with potato and cheese. Most people would say this is a bad wine pairing, but it tastes very good. The wine taste is more subtle with this dish, and the acidity from the wine adds another dimension to the flavour of the cheese. It also adds another ingredient to the food that helps make it a “soups” type of dish. Something to think about is the fact that the dish was created by someone who didn’t have much money, and they enjoyed the process of making the dish at home.
One more wine pairing that should be considered is the wine pairing with a southern African lentil soup. This soup is known for its ability to add a distinct flavour to meat – beef, pork, lamb, chicken – and is often paired with anise seeds on top. You’ll also find that the wine pairs well with most African dishes, and often comes in a bottle that is aged in wood barrels. If you enjoy the taste of wine with a spicy leg of lamb, then this is a wine pairing that you’re going to love. With all the lamb meal wine pairing basics out there, you should be able to come up with some great combinations.