People rarely think about what to cook for dinner over the wine they have. This is mostly done by true wine lovers. When you come up with what food you are about to serve to your guests, then focus on what kind of wine you want to have to complement the food and complete enjoyment.
When it comes to wine culture in general, wine and food matching has an extremely high importance. Wine is a beverage that best matches food and is best supplemented with it. Also, there is some rooted opinion that wine should not be mixed, but rather focus on only one that we should drink all evening. Luckily, we don’t have to comply with that. With the appetizer, depending on whether we have salads, cheeses, etc. we can have white wines, rose and even lighter reds and along with desserts we can have semi-sweet and sweet wines. The goal is to enjoy the tastes of food and wine and their interaction, not to tipple until the senses get dull. Why is all this important? Because you want to give your guests the ultimate gastronomic experience they will talk about.
The safest step would be, if you buy wine in the wine shop, ask for recommendation because the sellers in wine shops are trained to help in the selection of wine based on requirements you provide - which wine you prefer (white, red, pink, sparkling ...), what food you plan to serve with it, the range of prices that suits you (this is very important!), etc. If the wine shop is not an option and you want to take yourself on an adventure, we dedicate this text to you and we are rooting for you.
Understanding some of the basic properties of wine can help you in finding out more about which wines will probably suit you and which you will probably want to avoid. By learning about your own tastes and general characteristics of wine, you can become a wine expert pretty fast and feel confident in your own selection of excellent wine that you can successfully pair with a special meal.
Choosing a good wine is completely subjective. Whether you prefer delicate, bold, sweet, fruity, mineral or/and spicy flavors, it is possible to find a wine that you will worship (or your guests, depending on the targeted group). These essential characteristics that define each variety of wine can be very useful when you want to choose the right bottle.
One of the best ways to help yourself is to read the label on a bottle. Just because the label is lovely designed or made of some unusual or expensive materials, does not mean that the taste will be as good as the label promise. The back label usually offers a lot of information that can help you to match the wines with the taste profiles you are looking for, and often there is a recommendation for serving or have a list with which the wine is well paired. Use these information, that's already job half done.
Pairing wine and food – basics and principles
When you are new to the matching of wine and food as well as selection of wine for special occasion or dinner that you plan for special guests, then you should adhere to some traditional rules such as - white meat and fish match with light white wines and red meat with red wines. An exception is the meat of salmon and tuna that could be served with dry pink or red wine like Pino noir (smoked salmon goes great with Merlot).
Although these rules have been overcome today, if you are unsure and new in choosing and matching wine with food, following these rules will not be a mistake. Another rule that we can adhere to is the rule of complementarity. When you have something sweet on the menu, it's easy to pair it with semi-sweet or sweet wine. Here, we will just put some rules of matching to understand the principles and you should experiment, we always encourage our guests to do that. Sometimes these experiments won’t be the most successful, but when you get into the matter after a lot of practice, you’ll ask yourself how could you have done it before in any other way?
-Protein and fats in the meat soften the tannins and astringency of red wine. That's why Cabernet Sauvignon is often recommended with a meal, such as a steak. Protein reduces the acidity of the wine and makes it softer, rounder.
- Salty food emphasizes the taste of oak in white wines, but also enhances fruitiness and sweetness. Try to pair salty food with fresh, young white wines or white wines that haven’t been in the oak barrel for a long time.
- Spicy food enhances the taste of alcohol and it should be paired with cooled, less alcoholic semi-sweet or semi-dry wines with fruit flavors. Such wines make excellent contrast with intense spices and cool the palate from too spicy dishes. Spicy foods require low to medium tannin wines which provides both contrast as well as harmony to spicy foods.
- Sweet food makes wine tastier and/or bitter. (Cabernet Sauvignon doesn’t go well with milk chocolate, but on the other hand, it can be very nicely matched with a black chocolate with more than 75% cocoa)
- Smoked food dominates the taste of wine. Strong, aromatic, full body wines will withstand smokiness of food. If you have some fine barrique wine, it will be perfect.
- Food dominated by acids (citrus fruits, tomatoes, etc.) agree with light white wines that have light fruit acids. If you only have a fresh salad with vinegar for the appetizer, avoid serving the wine, because vinegar and wine do not mix well.
When it comes to wine testing, beginners are often trying too hard and have excessive expectations. It is important to realize that it takes a lot of wine to taste (and to drink) in order to enjoy the wine as professionals. At the beginning, smell your wine in a glass by placing your nose through the glass opening and fee all the wonderful aromas that are released. Try to detect them. Then you taste the wine. When you taste the wine, try it before eating and enjoy its taste, then try the food. Make the next sip when you swallow food completely. You should never mix wine and food in your mouth because, in this case, all you get is an undefined mishmash of tastes that does not provide any enjoyment.