With wine you cannot simply say that anything goes, because pairing the wrong wine and food can completely spoil your meal, the weight of the food really needs to be balanced with the weight of the wine.
Below you will find a list of things you need to consider before serving the wine. However, your own experiences and preferences should be leading.
If you are planning to serve more than wine during your meal, then the order of serving the wines is essential. Lighter wines should be served before the wines with a full body and dry wines should be served before the sweet wines.
Tannin gives you that dry, furry feeling in your mouth and it comes from the stalks and skins of the grapes. Eggs, cheese and fish should be avoided with tannic wine. However, there is a perfect partner for a tannic wine and that is meat, because the flavor of the meat smoothens out the tannins.
If you are serving a sweet dish, then the accompanying wine should be at least as sweet, otherwise your sweet wine will taste thin. The wine can also be sweeter than the food you are serving.
When serving a meal with citrus fruits or vinegar, the wine you are serving needs to be as acid as the food, otherwise it will taste flat. In general, white wines are the best partners for these dishes, although there are also some rose wines and acid red wines you can choose.
An acidic wine can heighten the flavor of a dish, but can also make a dish seem less rich.
Generally, wine and strong spices clash and the spices can really destroy the flavors in a wine. Therefore, wine is not really the ideal partner for strong spicy meals, like for instance meals with hot chili peppers. A cold beer would be a better option to choose, but if wine is a must-have, then you could consider a Riesling wine.
Cooking with wine
Cooking regional food often works very well with the wines from that specific region. Another good general rule when cooking with wine is that using the wine that is served with the dish, will help the two marry together.
There are really hundreds of fantastic matches to choose from; below you will a list of tasty examples:
- Stilton and vintage port
- Clam chowder and SpÃ¤tlese
- Grilled and barbequed food and Rioja
- Pasta with red sauce and Chianti, Rosso Conero or Vino Nobile
- Pasta with white sauce and Prosecco, light Chianti or Soave
- Pizza and Chianti, Barbera, red Zinfandel or Shiraz
- Turkey and red Burgundy, Pinot Noir, dry Riesling or medium Zinfandel
- Fried chicken and Beajoulais, Chianti or Sauvignon Blanc
- Quiche and light Chardonnay, Riesling from the Alsace or Sauvignon Blanc
- Crab or Lobster and Sauvignon Blanc
Refer to my other wine articles if you are interested in:
- Develop Your Own Wine Palate - Things To Notice When Tasting Wine
- Cava - The Spanish alternative for Champagne
- Prosecco - a fine and affordable alternative to Champagne
- Moselle wines - Germany's top wines