Hi friends and welcome to ELR Wine 101 Part 3: Pairing Wine With Good Eats!
This lesson is going to be a tad shorter than the rest and is also very relative to your own personal tastes. What I am not is one of those wine snobs that thinks you can ONLY pair fish with pinot grigio. I mean come on, if it tastes awesome to you then its golden! Although certain combinations are known to be better than others, its really all about what works for you and the only way you can find that out is to taste more wine with different foods!
That all being said, here are some classic food and wine pairings that may help you at your next dinner party (or if you want to act like you know what you are talking about!):
Pasta with Cream Sauce (Fettucine): Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Vegetarian Stir Fry: Chardonnay, Riesling
Pasta with Pesto: Merlot
Spaghetti and Meatballs or Pasta with Marinara Sauce: Zinfandel
Spicy Vegetarian Meals: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay
Grilled Fish: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Baked or Grilled Chicken Dish: Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling
Beef: Cabernet Sauvignon
The key with food and wine pairing is to compliment the flavors of the food with the wine so that BOTH taste even better together. If you are having a rich dinner like grilled steak, serving a robust wine like Cabernet with it will make it all just pop. Spicy food is best complimented by a cool white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling. Personally, I like to serve shrimp and seafood with Sauvignon Blanc but of course I’ll take a good Pinot Noir any time of day!
In the wine world, there’s a lot of hooplah about food and wine pairings. Some winos will tell you that you simply CANNOT eat that meal while drinking that wine. If you like fish with merlot though, by all means, go ahead! A richer darker fish (like swordfish) would actually go very nicely with a richer wine like Merlot because it is more of a “steak-y” type of fish.
Still not sure what to pick up to go with a dinner you planned? Take it to the experts. The people that work in wine shops know all about this sort of thing and are more than happy to help you. I’ve consulted many a time the guys at Total Wine as to what wine would go best with my dinner. They LOVE talking about that kind of thing and would probably be very flattered you asked. However, its good to know something going into the store as well so you can casually throw out, “oh yes, I think that that dry Riesling would go perfectly with my spicy Kung Pao tofu tonight but I’m not sure which kind to choose…can you help?”
What’s the best food wine pairing you have come up with on your own?