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What Foods Better to Combine with Wine?

People have different sensibilities, preferences and habits in food and drinks. They also have different opinions about the taste properties of products. As a result, there is no simple answer to the question of which dishes go best with wine. There are also no win-win food and wine pairs, although more popular ones are oysters and muscadet, and alternative ones, like popcorn with champagne. This article created by the staff of Seasons 52, Burlington will help you figure out what wine is combined with and what rules can be followed when buying a bottle of wine for dinner.

General rules for combining wines with products

Gastronomic pairing principles exist to help find a balance between flavors, body, texture, and aromas in food and wine. Here are some basic guidelines.

The sweetness in food can make dry wine unpleasant: it will seem sour or uninteresting, tasteless. Therefore, it is always worth choosing wines with a higher level of residual sugar for sweet dishes.

Wines with low acidity can get lost in salads with vinegar or citrus topings. These snacks work well with highly acidic wines, revealing and enhancing their fruitiness.

Salt and salty taste are the most wine-friendly ingredients.

Bitterness in food, on the other hand, will only intensify the bitterness in wine – the two tastes combine in one. Therefore, you need to select wines with a sweetish mild taste with bitter products.

The sharp flavour is perceived by us most subjectively. Nevertheless, the intensity of this taste, for example, in hot peppers, will increase together with an increase in the alcohol rate in the wine: the burning sensation will intensify. In turn, spicy food neutralizes the body in wine, fat content, sweetness, fruitiness – everything that makes up its character. Therefore, choose bright, expressive, semi-sweet or sweet wines for spicy foods.

The so-called “fifth taste” of umami, which, for example, is found in mushrooms after they have been heat-treated, will also require salt to be successfully combined with wine. Smoked meats or seafood, hard cheeses and some other foods obtain these two flavors.

How food properties influence wine selection

It is worth thinking about the texture and “weight” of the food, for example, fat content, density, expressiveness. A fatty meal will require acidic or sparkling wine to refresh the receptors, the lighter the meal, the lighter the wine will be preferred. The bright flavors in the food should be kept bright in the wine, and vice versa.

Sometimes it is reasonable to choose wine taking into account the aromatic palette of the dish:

  • a spicy bouquet – spicy dishes;
  • a herbal bouquet – a dish with herbs;
  • berry wines – berry sauce;
  • vanilla notes – sweet spices;
  • toast or smoky notes – for products cooked “with a smoke” over an open fire.

The most important indicator of your choice correctness is your own taste and pleasure from these combination.

What does red wine combine with?

There is an opinion that red wine is most suitable for fatty, protein foods, namely meat. This rule appeared from the fact that tannins (the astringent substances responsible for the astringency of wine) tend to bind protein. Therefore, they create a feeling of dry mouth, but they also perfectly help with the digestion and assimilation of dense meat dishes, while making their taste softer and brighter. Take a bottle of Shiraz to the barbecue, and Argentine malbec to the marbled beef steak. Since protein is not only animal, highly tannic, that is, mostly red, wines will go well with legumes and mushrooms, for example, Mexican dishes or rich shepherd-style chowders: with offal, stews and vegetables. Such a fatty dish will well refresh the taste of the juicy Italian Sangiovese.

Red to red. Although there are many exceptions to this rule, dishes made from red meat are well suited to red wines: veal, beef, gamebird. Almost any meat dish from steak to pasta bolognese, from braised venison to jamon will be appropriate with a dense wine of tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, merlot or a blend based on these varieties. A light red pinot noir or gamay is best served with more tender dishes: duck breast, tartare, veal chops, roast beef or, for example, baked rabbit.

What dishes go well with rosé wine

Rose can be combined with a whole range of hot dishes from the red or white color, as well as with appetizers and desserts. After all, this wine is made from the absolute majority of red varieties, but it is lighter, and therefore more variable.

For example, red fish (tuna, salmon, trout), white meat like pork, poultry and wild poultry dishes are suitable for medium-dense dry pink wine made from grenache, murverdre, senso, tempranillo, garnacci or pinot noir, including sparkling wine. , veal, various pates, shrimps, crab, lobster. The more refined the rosé wine, for example, from the regions of Provence, Sancerre, Champagne, the more refined the dish should be.

But the more universe, everyday rosés from Portuguese Vino Verde to Italian and Californian Pinot Grigio blends can be a good aperitif or an accompaniment to light snacks at a picnic or buffet table. Canapes, salads, and cold cuts will suit them. However, try to adhere to the rules for a sweet menu, for example, based on berries and fruits or pastries, choose a sweeter rose. It can be either wine from southern regions like Spain or “white” Zinfandel from the USA.

What is better to combine with white wine?

White wines are traditionally associated with fish dishes, but as we can see, not every one of them will suit. Choose lighter, less fatty options like halibut, sole, and sea bream. One of the universal solutions to such a fish menu will be the Piedmontese white Gavi di Gavi, Muscadet from the Loire Valley, the aromatic sauvignon blanc (by the way, the shades of its taste can be both more tropical and vegetable or mineral) or the classic unseasoned chardonnay will do well. The most luxurious options, such as those from Chablis, may be combined with oysters and other shellfish, gourmet fish or caviar. Fatty dishes like fish and chips are best served with sparkling white prosecco, or even champagne for a lush continental breakfast.

White wine is also recommended for spicy Pan-Asian cuisine from spring rolls to curries. For spicy and pungent food, opt for semi-dry or sweet wines from Germany or French Alsace, Gewürztraminer and Riesling. Their intense fruity-floral aromas will not be lost next to bright oriental spices and will well set off both spicy-sweet and soy sauces.

What is better not to serve with wines?

There is a group of products that are most difficult to combine with wine. It is they who, most often, have the taste of minds or a specific chemical composition and always need to be supplemented: one more product, which will become the leading one for the formation of an oenogastronomic pair. For example, asparagus on its own can give wines a metallic flavor due to sulfur compounds, but fried in oil or drizzled with lemon juice or served with a thick creamy sauce, it will already be considered quite a friendly product for the same Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or American Chardonnay. Artichokes are also considered a complex food because of the amino acid cynarin. Only dry fino sherry can be combined with it.

Eggs will also interfere with the palatability of most wines and can only be balanced with sparkling. It is not for nothing that this drink is considered a classic for breakfast. Marinated foods or salads with vinegar dressing are best complemented with potatoes and Spanish white albariño with its piercing acidity. Peppermint and dishes based on it have an effect on receptors. Only sweet botrytized Rieslings (trockenbeerenauslese predicate) or icewein can cope with it.