The Best Way to Pair Wine With Your Meal - The scoop on the best wines to pair with various foods
Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur looking for the perfect oaky wine to pair with your favorite steak or you're a first-time wine drinker looking for pairings that are both unique and delicious, pairing wine is much the same. The best way to pair wine with your meal is to understand how it affects the food it's paired with. This doesn't mean that you have to slather an oily red on your rice and beans in order to get the most bang for your buck — but by understanding how each type of wine affects different foods, you can create more dynamic, memorable meals based around individual tastes. Here are some of the most important things to know about pairing wines with various foods: The Importance of Understanding the Basics The difference between red and white wine is one of the most fundamental things an aspiring wine drinker will come to understand. Red is sweet and buttery while white is crisp and clean. “Butter’s role in food and drink is almost as old as mankind,” according to The Oxford Companion to Food. “The smell of butter gives us pleasure and the taste of butter is pleasant on the palette, though it can be a little salty.” In other words, pairing coffee and butter doesn’t make much sense, but pairing red wine and butter actually makes perfect sense. The butter in cheese is water, but in red wine, it’s alcohol. And what’s even more interesting is that the same is true for eggs. In comparison, it might seem odd to pair an oily egg with a drier wine, the yolk assists in the retention of water in the body of the drink, keeping the overall texture creamy. Understanding Food + Wine Matching Understanding the basics of pairing food and wine is crucial to pairing well. But pairing well isn’t just about understanding the basics, it’s about pairing the right foods at the right time. Depending on what type of food you’re eating, you may have to line up the food differently. “If you’re pairing a steak with a white wine, you might have to settle for a cheaper option if you want to maintain the quality of the steak,” explains Food Network’s Guy Fieri. For instance, when it comes to pairing fresh vegetables with red wine, you may have to forgo the more expensive options — but stay away from the less fresh vegetables when it comes to pairing white wine with vegetables. When you understand how each type of wine affects different foods, you can create more dynamic, memorable meals based on individual tastes. How to pair wine with your meal? After you get the basics of food and wine pairing down, the final step is to actually pair your food and wine together. This is the part where you have to be creative — and if you’re not willing to try a little thing called “winging it,” you might want to abstain from pairing certain types of foods at all. In general, pairing food with wine is meant to be playful and creative, rather than serious or dull. You don’t have to pair a barrel of red wine with your steak — or a barrel of red with your pork chops, for that matter — but you should at least try out some different pairings to see what works best with your individual taste buds. You should also bear in mind that the type of food you pair with wine can affect the overall Effectiveness of the pairing. For instance, pairing a dry white wine with spicy food might taste less spicy than pairing a juicy red wine with the same food. That being said, it’s important to understand the effects of different types of wine on different foods. Once you’ve paired a few drinks per week with various foods, you’ll be ready to go with the best wine pairings for more complex meals and snacks! The best wines to pair with various foods There are a wide variety of wines available, so it’s hard to say which ones are the best to pair with which foods. That said, there are a few general rules that you’ll want to keep in mind when pairing foods and wines. First, the stronger the food components, the more pronounced the taste of the wine will be. For example, if you normally pair steak with red wine, but you’re also trying out a salmon filet for your meal, you will notice a big difference in the two dishes. When you’re pairing food with wine, you want to consider what other foods that you’re eating will go well with it. Once you’ve determined that, the rest will come easier. As a general rule, the drier the food, the less water it contains, and the stronger the minerals in the water, the stronger the taste of the food will be paired with the wine. For eexample, the Sula wine can go with Aloo Poori, an Indian dish consisting of fried wheat served with a spichy and tangy tomato curry. The bottom line Again, pairing wine is not just about understanding the basic stuff about how each type of wine affects different foods, but also the type of wine you pair with which foods and how they are related. Here are some of the most important things to know about pairing wine with various foods: Wine affects different foods in different ways. Some foods pair very well with red wine while others pair equally well with white wine. The best wine to drink with certain foods is also the best wine to make with those foods. For instance, a dry white wine makes a good partner for fatty foods such as butter and gorgonzola cheese because the fat will help to keep the overall texture of the meal consistent. Most importantly, if you’re pairing wine with food, make sure it’s the right food to go with the right wine.