Simple Tips For Pairing Your Favourite Okanagan Valley Wine & Food
When it comes to wine pairing, the average person may feel a little bit lost and intimidated, deferring to the sophisticated wine connoisseur or sommelier. But that does not have to be the case as wine pairing really boils down to simple chemistry and the manipulation of flavours. There are a few basic rules that can help you get started within the fascinating and fun art of understanding how wine and food flavours interact on your palette.
Of primary consideration are the taste components or profiles in the food. Many guides narrow them down to 6-7 and these profiles influence what type of wine you might choose to accompany your meal.
Everything Wine lists 7 Taste Components in food that can be used to determine what type of wine to choose:
A general rule is that you do not want to pair a less sweet wine with a sweet food item. You may also want to avoid wines that have a high tannin content with sweet foods.
Exercise caution with wines that are high in tannins or contain oak with more savoury food.
Tannins become more enjoyable with salty cuisine.
Avoid pairing a wine with less acidity than the food.
Choose a wine that has a similar intensity of flavours to the meal.
A higher acid content wine is actually good in this case.
Hot and spicy foods do well with light, fruity wines with some sweetness.
Wine Folly’s Food Pairing Basics lists 9 Additional Tips to Reference when pairing. Some of these tips reinforce and expand somewhat on what we have learned above:
- Choose a wine that is more acidic than the food.
- Pairing wines sweeter than the food is ideal
- The wine and food should have the same or similar flavour intensity.
- Bold flavoured meals and red wines pair best.
- Light intensity meats (fish and chicken) and white wines pair well.
- Bitter wines (red) balance with fat.
- Match your wine with the sauce over the meat.
- Often white, sparkling & rose create contrasting pairings.
- Often red wines create congruent pairings.
Congruent & Contrasting (Complimentary) Pairings & Common Combinations:
Just like relationships, there are different types of pairings that are worthwhile. A congruent pairing amplifies shared compounds or similar flavours, while a complementary pairing deals with contrasting flavours and creating balance between them.
Tips for Wine Pairing with Vegetarian Meals:
When pairing a wine with a vegetarian meal, it is important to look at a few factors. If vegetables are a main focus, whites or lighter reds are the best. If the dish is particularly dairy centred, a richer wine may be in order.
In addition, are the vegetables involved root vegetables or mushrooms, or of the fresh or light variety? In the case of the former, a wine that pairs well with earthy flavours as in a Pinot Noir might be just right.
Learn More With a Culinary Experience at Ex Nihilo:
Want to delve further? Indulge and learn at the same time with a Culinary Dinner Series at Ex Nihilo’s CHAOS Bistro. Executive Chef, Danny Tipper will talk about the origin of the dishes and perfect wine pairings for each course. Visit our website for information on future dates and to book.