Wine Food Pairing

Wine Food Pairing is an adventure, not an exact science. It is important that you do not take yourself too seriously, but to experiment and enjoy the wonderful tastes and textures of wines that are available to us today!
I have enjoyed wine food pairing since I was a youngster up in the Pacific Northwest where my parents made wine from berries that we picked. They teamed up with a neighbor, recently transplanted from Austria, and came up with some delightful combinations of flavors!
With any wine food pairing, personal taste comes into play. Everyone has different body chemistry. This plays a big role in what tastes good to us. In addition, flavors that we grow up "loving" enter into the combination. When we grow up loving a wine, our palate makes exceptions to the normal rule of wine food pairing. I simply MUST drink inexpensive Chianti while eating pepperoni pizza! All of my friends at the table enjoy a cold pitcher of beer, but old habits die hard for me! The entire meal tastes even better if the table has a lighted candle placed in an old wine bottle....get the picture?
Even though sometimes I use my "heart" instead of my head in wine food pairing, I do have some general guidelines I follow when I entertain:
If I start with an appetizer of crudites I might pair with a Chardonnay or a Beaujolais
I usually pair red meat with a wine that has a stronger taste, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon
Dishes rich in fat content I pair with a wine with a higher acidity
Food rich in protein work well with tannic wines. They combine well and decrease the tannin taste. If you were to drink this same wine with a seafood dish you might notice a strong metallic taste or bitterness with salty food.
For desserts, I go with a sweeter wine. Hot chocolate souffle with a California Cabernet Sauvignon is simply to die for....YUM! Ice Wine is something that I enjoy with most cakes or pies.
My European friends really taught me the delightful taste of cheese as a dessert and of course paired with right wine it is even better!
Cheese plates really run the gamut depending on the flavor and texture of the cheese being offered. I serve Champagne with a Brie or Camembert, but on the other hand I might go with a Cabernet Sauvignon if I serve the Camembert with a Sharp Cheddar and a "stinky" Blue.
The bottom line in any wine food pairing is that not everyone will enjoy your exact tastes, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't go forward. Never let anxiety rule pairing choices. Wine is an adventure and a challenge that should be embraced.....so go out there and experiment and enjoy! CHEERS!

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About The Author, Deniseclarke