Points to Remember

  • Match not only the flavor of the wine to the flavor of the food, but to the intensity of flavor and weight or body of the wine as well. A heavy, alcoholic wine will not go well with a delicate dish.
  • Try to match the acidity of a dish to the acidity of the wine. Acid flavors like lemon or tomato need acidity in the wine.
  • Richness in a dish can either be cut through with an acidic wine, or matched with a rich one. Either way, the wine should be full in flavor so as not to taste lean and mean.
  • Consider sweetness when pairing wines with food. Sweet food makes dry wine taste unpleasantly lean and acidic.
  • There is a great deal of sense in the old rule of white wine before red, young wine before old, and light wine before heavy. The palate adjusts easily to wines served in this order; however, it is only a guideline. A vigorous red served after a rich late-harvest white, for instance, will not show to best advantage.
  • If a dish has a sauce, then the flavors of the sauce should he taken into account.
  • Red wine is traditionally drunk with cheese, but white is generally hotter. Blue cheeses, in particular, are unhappy matches for red wines (except port).
  • Pastry dulls the palate, softening the flavors of the other ingredients with it. Go for a more subtle wine than you might otherwise have chosen
  • Certain foods have a great affinity for particular grapes: land) with Cabernet Sauvignon, for example. It often seems to be the case, too, that Cabernet Sauvignon is best with plain roast meat and Pinot Noir is best with sauced meat.
  • Contrary to the old adage that white wine should be served with fish, the red grapes Pinot Noir and Gamay can go with certain types of fish, such as salmon and red mullet. Syrah can, occasionally, if there is a lot of garlic involved. Other red grapes do nothing for fish.

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