How To Pair Wine With Food

“Then bring a suitable wine for the meal, you know about it.” Every year, our wine lover William hears this request from the circle of loved ones. For those who also have the pleasure of bringing the right wine to the feast, she has written an aromatic guide in six flavors.

There is currently no shortage of recipes for the big Christmas dinner. Every magazine worth its salt, every magazine and the relevant online titles are waiting with instructions for great and small cooking skills. A wine recommendation is often added, specifically tailored to the meal.

Most recommendations for pairing can probably be followed blindly, but it is better for a wine lover to understand how to choose the right wine for the meal. And since one has to find one’s way into the subject somehow, I have described six taste factors that illustrate the interaction between food and wine. These basic knowledge is to be expanded through own experience, because only if you taste them, you have also understood them. Therefore, as is often the case with the interaction between wine and food: trying is better than studying!

Fat likes tannins: You only treat yourself once in a while

Heavy roasts, steaks and large poultry are classic Christmas dishes. This leaves no room for the use of fat – and that is meant positively. Because fat is not only a flavor enhancer that stimulates appetite. It also protects the palate, which immediately affects the choice of wine. Thus, the slightly stronger reds come to the table with these dishes, which have plenty of tannins. If the tannin usually leaves a very dry feeling on the palate – because it attacks our mucous membranes – the fat prevents this effect. On the contrary, the fat supports the broad shoulder of the wine and makes it a perfect companion.

For an easy “self-experiment”, a piece of good cheese in combination with a tannin-rich wine is suitable. The cheese should not be too intense to leave room for aromatic air in the wine.

Also Read: Best Appetizer Pairings for Red Wine

Salt and fruit: The underestimated romance

Salt and fruit, surprisingly, go very well together. The salt in the food makes the fruit in the wine stand out better and the fruit in the wine keeps the salty notes of the dish in check. If you bring both together with a touch of finesse, neither using too much salt nor putting a real fruit bomb in the glass, this liaison becomes a real love affair. My tip: a sparkling wine deals with the salt impression in a particularly playful way and provides a refreshing freshness.

This taste impression can also be followed without directly conjuring up a menu: a few good slices of prosciutto, perhaps served with some fresh ciabatta, in combination with the sparkling wine I recommend, provide a tasty and educational experience.

Alcohol intensifies: Wine as a calming counterpoint

Some people like it spicy, but caution is advised with dishes that are spicy. For such food, no heavy, high-alcohol wine should be served, as the alcohol intensifies the spicy impression and therefore not only distorts the taste of the food, but also almost numbs the palate.

If you want to counter the spice with the wine, you should not only pay attention to a lower alcohol content, but also consider a wine with a little residual sweetness. In particular, a Riesling (my further reading tip on the subject: white dessert wines) goes particularly well with dishes from Asian cuisine. Here, nothing can go wrong with an alcohol content well below 10%.

Acidity: best in food and wine

Acid notes in food and acid in wine are further candidates for a promising pairing. However, the rule applies: neither should the wine be clearly acid-influenced than the food nor vice versa. Here, it’s about harmony and not contrast again, as with the interaction of salt and fruit.

I always answer this question to myself this way: Can I also imagine a splash of lemon with the food, then it can also be a wine with a profiled acidity. To gain first experiences with this topic, I recommend either a classic prepared fish with lemon or a chicken breast that has been marinated in a simple marinade of olive oil, thyme, lemon juice and zest beforehand.

Under no circumstances both: a sweet trap

Caution is advised with sweetness, because too much of a good thing is no longer good. Let’s think about dessert. If a sweet mousse is added to a sweet wine, both impressions add up to sticky sweetness. The same wine served with an apple or pear compote, on the other hand, will be appreciated because of the contrast.

All the more, it is worth remembering sparkling wines at this point, which are also excellently suited as accompaniments to sweets. Because the carbon dioxide refreshes and the palate is practically cleaned. A pink sparkling wine from our range immediately comes to mind: it has a moderate residual sweetness and accompanies fresh, fruity desserts wonderfully.

Heavenly harmony: swinging aromas

If you have dealt enough with acidity and sweetness, spiciness and saltiness, it is worth following one more piece of advice: the taste buds are particularly excited when wine and food present similar aromas, when, for example, a dense, concentrated wine with forest and herbs in the nose is drunk with wild or mushroom dishes. On the other hand, a fish dish or seafood harmonizes with light, fresh, rather mineral wines.

For me, the marriage of a classic wild game dish with a good Pinot Noir is unbeatable. The interaction between a roe deer roast or a deer goulash with the aroma profile of this grape variety is simply unbeatable.