Wine and Food Pairing – Part 1

This begins a 5 part series on “Wine and Food Pairing.” For some of us pairing the correct wine with a certain food seems overwhelming. But don’t be discouraged, there are just a few basic rules that can help you find that perfect match! Additionally there are numerous books, websites and apps that can also help you.

A few things to keep in mind….

  • Its your taste buds and likes/dislikes that are most important. You might not always agree with a suggested pairing.
  • The wine you like may be vastly different than someone else’s preference. (example – a sweet, fruit wine drinker versus someone who enjoys a full-bodied, high tannin Cab)
  • Grape varieties/wines vary among producers and vintages, and therefore can have an impact on the food pairing.

Food and Wine Pairing Rule #1: Its all about balance. You want to make sure the wine does not overpower the food, or the opposite, the food does not overpower the wine. You want both to complement and stand up to each other…BALANCE!

A poor example of wine overpowering food would be a full-bodied, high tannin Cabernet Sauvignon with a light, white fish. You aren’t going to be able to taste the fish, just the wine. A good pairing would be an unoaked Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc. Both of these wines have mineral and citrus notes which pair well with a white fish.

A poor example of food overpowering wine would be a light-bodied, low acidity Pinot Gris with a hearty beef stew. All you will taste is the stew. The wine will seem bland or feel flabby in your mouth. A good pairing with the stew would be a Syrah, Tempranillo or one of Colorado’s signature grapes, Cabernet Franc. The richness of the stew will pair well with these medium tannin, medium-bodied red wines.

So get out your recipe books and begin pairing wine using the rule of BALANCE. Enjoy!!



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