Wine Pairing: A Beginner’s Guide

Wine pairing

So you were wondering what wine to pair with your favorite dishes? Well, in doing a bit of homework, I learned there are simple guidelines to ease your decision. The proper wine and food pairing can really enhance not only your dining experience, but the flavor of your meal.

While many diners look to the expertise of a sommelier when dining out, it’s helpful to have a little knowledge of your own as well. After all, wouldn’t it be great to impress your guests with some savvy understanding of wine when you invite them for that next fabulous dinner party? If so, the following is a quick lesson on how to become better acquainted with wine and food pairing at a glance.

Fish prepared in a rich buttery sauce should be paired with a full-flavored wine like chardonnay. And when prepared in a lemon sauce, sauvignon blanc is the perfect choice. Beef is matched well with cabernet, merlot, malbec, Bordeaux and shiraz. When selecting a beef entrée, note: tannins found in red wines help breakdown the fats left in your mouth and cleanse the palate.

Pork is best paired with a light wine like Beaujolais, which offers a subtle strawberry flavor. Pork prepared barbeque is best suited to a dry white wine like pinot grigio. Chicken prepared in a heavy sauce (full-flavored sauce) is complemented well with chardonnay or white burgundy. For duck, pour a red burgundy or pinot noir.

When it comes to shellfish, lobster and scallops are rich in flavor and pair well with chardonnay, while shrimp is perfectly matched with sauvignon blanc or Champagne.

And then there is CHEESE, my favorite food item. I could live off cheese, wine and French baguette every day of the week. What’s not to love? Soft cheeses like brie and chevre are best paired with a glass of chardonnay, pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. Hard cheeses like parmesan, asiago and cheddar go well with pinot noir (tannins in a pinot noir help balance the sharp flavor.) And a creamy delightful bleu cheese, gorgonzola or Roquefort is best paired with a fine glass of port wine. Salute!

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