Probably most of you already know the term wine pairings, but in case anyone’s not heard of it, we will start with a simple definition. When we talk about wine pairings, we refer to the process done with the end of correctly combining a meal’s food and dishes with the wines that are going to be drunk.
Correct pairings depend on multiple aspects, not just combining the different flavours of the food and wine, but also identifying and coupling each dish’s intricacies, the way each one of them was cooked and prepared and, as always, each commensal’s personal preferences. However, there are some basic rules that are commonly followed, as we will see below.
In broad terms, pairing rules state that those foods with strong tastes must be accompanied by wines with similar potential, wines with character; whereas those dishes which are lighter should be coupled with less bodied wines.
Moreover, the order in which the wines are served is important. In the same way that food is often served in an ascending order of intensity, wine pairings should also follow this rule, with the objective of achieving a delicious result.
What Should We Consider When Pairing Food and Wine?
There must be an association between the flavours of the food and the wine – both must be in full consonance to achieve a perfect pairing. This way, we can establish some combination guidelines, shown below.
Commonly, we hear that seafood and fish should be paired with white wines. This is partially right, although it has some nuances:
- Seafood fits perfects with sweet and fruity white wines, but also with rosé wines.
- White fish combine will with dry or acid white wines, and also rosé wines; but when we have greasier fish, we can opt for a light red wine too.
The meat and red wine perfect combination is also very well known. Nonetheless, once again, we must highlight some exceptions. When considering red meats, it is true that the best pairing option are red wines, especially mature ones; while when considering white meats or those that can be eaten cold, these can be perfectly combined with a dry white wine.
Sweet desserts can be coupled with sweet wines, while desserts with chocolate, cocoa or coffee are better paired with a more bodied wine.
As we can see, wine pairing choices is tightly tied with the menu selection. We must start with lighter foods and drinks and finish off with stronger and more intense flavours to, finally, conclude at the dessert with a sweet note.
Wine Pairing Example Menu
Coming up, we want to show you and example of a menu where exquisite dishes are combined with delicious wines to achieve a perfect result. This is ideal for any kinds of palate and tasters, whether it is being served for people who have just started to taste wines, or if the commensals are more specialised wine lovers.
- First round: we can start with some rice – this can be in paella style, something with an Asian note with spices and vegetables, or even risotto. For this first dish, we will opt for a white wine such as Montepedroso, from Rueda.
- Second round: we will follow on with a delicious light red wine, which can be something like a garnacha crianza from Finca Antigua. This wine is ideal to pair a cheese table, before setting the stage up for the main dishes.
- Third round: red meat is always a good idea for a main dish. We can go for something like steak or sirloin with pepper sauce and potato mash, for example. The best pairing for this is, without a doubt, a strong red wine, such as the Rioja reserve from Finca Valpiedra.
- Fourth round: to finish off, we will go for a delicious dessert such as homemade custard, brownie with ice cream or any cake. There’s nothing that can better conclude this pairing that the sweet muscatel wine from Finca Antigua.
What do you think of this wine pairing menu? Can you think of any other ways of combining our wines with delicious food?