Food & Wine
ITALIAN DINNERS: AN EASY GUIDE TO MATCH WINE WITH FOOD
One of the greatest pleasures of wine is its ability to enhance the dining experience, however, matching different cuisines and flavors can be a daunting task. Wine pairing is a skill that food enthusiasts are passionate about that has been employed for centuries. Gone are the days when food pairing was a strict practice with rules written on stones. Nowadays, we no longer abide by the recommendations of only having “white wine with fish.”
Wine pairing doesn’t always have to be a complicated endeavor. You don’t have to learn complicated systems to know what wines go with what foods. The rule of thumb when it comes to wine pairing is to make food and wine taste way better than they would if they were on their own. A well-matched wine will uplift the tastes and textures of a dish that may otherwise go unnoticed. Some wine and food pairing are classic, most, however, are versatile and require some sort of experimentation. Below are a few simple guidelines for selecting a befitting wine for a particular dish;
- Drink and eat what you like
Personal preference is an overriding factor when it comes to enjoying food and wine. You should always choose a wine that you would want to drink by itself rather than hoping the food would make the wine taste better. You should be able to feel free to enjoy your favorite bottle of Sassicaia 2015 wine with a meal you enjoy most. This will always ensure that even if the pairing isn’t perfect, you can still enjoy your drink and the same holds for the food.
- Consider the wine structure
To correctly pair wine and food, you need to assess the wine structure and this entails components such as acidity, tannins, percentage of alcohol, texture and flavors. Delicate foods require a delicate wine as the same goes for more robust wines. It’s not as simple as red wine always goes with heavy dishes and white wines only go with light dishes. For anything in between, think in gradations.
- Look for balance
It’s paramount to consider the weight or body of both the wine and the food. When talking of weight, we don’t mean kilos or pounds rather matching food weight with wine. The wine and the dish should be equal partners, with neither overwhelming the other. For instance, light wines go well with foods that are typically lower in fat. Serve dry, light-bodied, low alcohol wines such as a Pinot noir with light dishes. Full-bodied wines like a Cabernet Sauvignon with high alcohol should be paired with heavy foods ideally rich in protein, dairy, animal fat or rich sauces.
- Match the wine to the prominent element in the dish
When wine pairing, it’s critical to identify the dominant character in the dish rather than every ingredient on the menu. If a dish is prepared with wine, it’s wise to consider matching the wine you drink to the wine in the dish.
- Progression is key
It’s vital to take into account the dinner duration time. If you are going to be sampling more than one wine over dinner, be careful to consider the intensity of the wine. The intensity of the wine should become more pronounced as the night progresses. One could start with light, raw wines and gradually move along to rich, complex and dry wines and finally sweet wines.
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