A SIMPLE GUIDE TO FOOD AND WINE PAIRINGS
The first thing you learn when starting to dabble in what-wine-to-pair-with-what-dish is that there’s no accounting for personal taste. And nowhere do you play spectator to the big, wide world of personal preference more than in the restaurant business. Wine pairing is often seen as one of those skills only a handful of wine whisperers possess, when in fact, how well a wine pairs with a dish depends entirely on you. But it’s always great not to feel like you’re fumbling in the dark or simply making things up, especially when hosting a dinner party. And although so personal, having an uncomplicated wine pairings guide at your fingertips never hurts.
Let’s start with the basics. When looking at the components that make up food and wine, they can be broken down into three components: structure, texture and flavour.
When pairing food with wine, you have three options: the wine can either not be present, similar to, or in contrast to the structure, texture and flavour of the food. It all depends on whether you’re going for something harmonious or intriguing with your pairing. The crowd-pleasing approach is to go with complementary structure, texture and flavour, but when starting your own wine club to experience a greater variety of wines, be bold and go for contrasts!
We can go into a lot more detail when looking at either of these components, but meanwhile, here’s a cheat sheet of basic notes regarding similarity and contrast to get you started:
- Acidic wines and acidic foods pair really well, so when serving up a salad, for instance, consider pairing it with a crisp white.
- Acidic wines also pair well with salty foods, like fresh seafood.
- On the other hand, wines that are high in alcohol – and therefore on the sweeter side of the spectrum – result in a bitter taste when paired with salty food. Think Edelspatz paired with French fries.
- Sweet wines and sweet foods go well together, but this pairing is most successful when the wine is sweeter than the food. Consider a demi-sec bubbly with a light fruit tart rather than a syrupy sweet malva pudding.
- The higher the alcohol content of the wine (warm climate wines) the bolder the food needs to be, or else you risk the food’s components being washed out by the wine.
- Tannin-rich wines (heavy reds) are ideally matched to rich, fatty foods. A heady Cabernet Sauvignon, for instance, is a great match for a lamb shank dish.
Start playing. In the end, it’s the only way you discover what works and what doesn’t. Trust your palate – you’ll know when a wine blends harmoniously with a dish or offers a welcome challenge to its flavours, textures and structure. To get the ball rolling, we’ve lined up a selection of La Motte wines and paired it with a handpicked collection of Jan’s online recipes. Make an occasion of it, try something new every weekend and discover your inner sommelier. Wine pairing
La Motte Methode Cap Classique
Vin de Joie