Basic rules of Food and Wine Pairing

Hi guys, we hope that you are still keeping positive and testing negative. Have you heard the news? Bordeaux wine arrived from space last week! The Space Cargo company sent the wine to space to study how the extreme conditions influence wine. Their aim is to understand the stress the wine might bear from climate change. This feeling when even wine has more opportunities to travel than we do. But we won’t focus on bad things. At least we have wine which, obviously, wasn't in space but it is still a good wine. So, let’s learn how to pair it  with food. Spoiler, it is not as easy as it seems. Take your drink of gods, and let’s go!

Wine Terms You Need To Know

Before we start learning how to pair wine and food, here are a few wine terms we need to know. They are not that hard, we promise. So, the first one is the acidity. When you drink wine and it tastes sour, this wine has a high level of acidity in it. 

Then we have a wine body, which is characterized by how the wine tastes in your mouth: it can be heavy (full-bodied) or light (light-bodied), or something in between (medium-bodied)

And last but not least is tannin. Tannins are naturally occurring polyphenols found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, and fruit skins. In the taste of wine, tannins give bitterness and astringency, which make the wine seem "dry". 

Types of Pairing Wine and Food

Congruent Pairing 

Congruent pairing is combining the flavors in wine and food which go together. For example, a zesty Sauvignon Blanc paired with chilled cucumber soup. In this pairing the citrusy and herbaceous flavors in Sauvignon Blanc highlight the freshness of the soup. 

Complementary Pairing 

Complementary pairing lies in pairing the flavors of the beverage and food in contrast to one another. For instance, fatty steak paired with Cabernet Sauvignon. The acids and tannins in the wine work up with the fatty flavors in the meat. 

Basic Taste Components In Food And Wine

The process of flavor pairing involves balancing tastes with one another. There are 6 building blocks of tastes you construct flavor pairings: bitter, sweet, salt, fat, acid, and spicy.  And here we add some wine, and everything gets even more complicated. Wine is a fermented beverage with a lower Ph which means fundamentally it is on the acid side of the spectrum. Next, some wines are sweet, and some are dry, and finally, if you prefer the red wine, it has bitterness, known as tannin. 

Now as we know the basic food and wine flavors, we're gonna choose the flavors that match together perfectly.

Food And Wine Pairing Basics

As we mentioned, there are 6 basic food flavor profiles: salt, acid, sweet, fat, bitter, and  spicy. One of the most widespread methods of pairing wine and food lies in placing wine into one of these flavor profiles. Here are some basic rules: 

Salty food likes high acid wine. The best pairing for your, let’s say, salty fried chicken will be sparkling wine and acidic wine. This is a great example of complementary pairing where salt and acid flavors are balanced creating an amazing taste in your mouth. Give it a try. 

Salty food likes sweet wine. In case you don't like the combination of salt and acid, try pairing your salty food with a glass of sweet wine. Saltiness and sweetness dancing on your tongue will make you feel heavenly good.  

Fatty food likes bitter wines. This is a good example of a complementary pairing. Cabernet Sauvignon will feel at home when it is paired with steak, but it also goes well with a good-old hamburger. Fat and tannin have a good relationship. A perfect pairing for your next barbecue. 

High acid food needs a high acid wine. When you have acid food such as tomato-based pasta or pizza with tomato sauce, you need the wine to match the acid intensity. Remember, that the wine acidity should be at least equal to the food acidity. Otherwise, the wine will taste bland. A great pairing for acidic food is Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine. 

Sweet food needs a sweet wine. The level of  wine and dessert sweetness should match, otherwise, if your wine is not as sweet as your food, it will taste sour. That's why dry red wine and chocolate will be a classic bad match. 

Spicy food needs a sweet wine. Spicy foods tend to lower the sweetness and body of a wine. Next time you order a Thai food or buffalo wings, grab a bottle of sweet Riesling. This is an amazing marriage of spiciness and sweetness. 

Food and Wine Pairings - 

These are the general guidelines for classic food and wine pairings. We hope that these rules will help you to pair wine and food easily. Save this post and discover new edges of taste. Check out our range of wines and order wine online for your wine tasting sessions at home. 

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