Wine & Food - A Good Pair

The general rule of food and wine pairing is that lighter foods go with lighter wines. The stronger the flavor of food, the stronger the flavor of your wine needs to be in order to balance and enhance the flavor of both the food and the wine.

Of course, you should pair whatever food you like with whatever wine you like if it tastes good to you. So what if you like Merlot with Sole. Sole is a very light and delicate fish, and Merlot is a heavy, rich and strong flavored wine. If you prefer the taste of Merlot with your Sole, it simply means that you prefer to taste Merlot than to taste Sole, because Merlot will be all you taste of the pair.

On the other hand, if you prefer Pinot Grigio with a thick hearty steak, you simply do not care whether you can taste your wine. A hearty beefsteak will completely overpower the flavor of a delicate, crispy and light Pinot Grigio.

However, if you would like to develop a refined palate for pairs of wine and food that enhance the flavor of both the food and the wine, you might wish to start with the general rule of pairing lighter foods with lighter wines. As you drink more wines with different types of food, you will develop your own personal tastes that will probably fall in line with the normal tastes of the human palate.

The key to learning which specific wines you like with which specific foods is to pair a lot of food with a lot of wine. The more often you try different wines with different foods, the more you will develop a refined palate and understand how food and wine can enhance each other.

If you really need to prove to yourself that you like red with fish, go ahead and pair the two together a couple of times. Conversely, be sure to try a crisp white wine with your Sole once or twice as well. Probably, the more often you try any type of wine within the general rule of reds with dark heavy meats and whites with light delicate meats, the more you will discover the nuances of flavor in both the wine and food if you take the time to savor each wine with the food.

When you open your bottle of wine at the dinner table (or when you bring your decanted bottle of wine to the dinner table), you should take the time to savor the taste of a sip of the wine in your glass before you taste your food.

After examining the glass of wine for color and appearance, smell the wine. Take a deep whiff of the wine and ask yourself of what the smell reminds you. Then take a sip of the wine into your mouth and swish it around to saturate your taste buds before you swallow the sip of wine.

After tasting a sample of the wine, take a bite of food and another sip of wine. Does the taste of the wine improve the food’s flavor? Does the food improve the wine’s flavor? If you answer yes to both questions, you have a good pair.

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About The Author, Ian Love
Ian Love is the ceo of Australian wine store Liquor Merchants. Ian has been a leader in the Perth restaurant industry for over 30 years and writes a blog on wine in Australia. He also owns top West Australian restaurant - Coco’s and runs a great vintage wine club in Perth.