When it comes to the question of “What wine goes with what food?” I take an easy route. I think of the protein: Which will it be? Will it be poultry, seafood, meat, or vegetarian? If the protein is meat or seafood, I think of the texture of the protein and how it’s cooked: rare, medium or well-done. The cooking temperatures will change the flavor profile of the dish. I then think of what accompanied the dish and whether or not there is a sauce. Answering these questions up front will answer the question of “what wine will go with which food?” You can do the same with vegetarian dishes. Think of what is the main vegetable of the dish, then think about how it’s cooked because, again, the temperature at which it’s cooked will change its texture and flavor profile. Although most vegetarian dishes go well with white wines, red wines that are lighter in body and style, such as Pinot Noir, also work well.
The basic fact is that we eat what we like, and this is more important than what wine to drink. Just remember that wine is meant to go with food and not the other way around. There is a simplistic approach to wine and food pairing: white meats goes with white wine, and red meats go with red wines. This is too limiting, like food there are a number of combinations with wine and food. Another good rule to fall back on is to pair simple wines with simple foods and complex wines with complex foods. What do I mean when I say “complex foods?” These are dishes with multiple flavors and textures. The dish seems to have a lot going on, the flavors gets more intense, the textures builds, and the dish seems to get better and better with every bite. This is also true with complex wines. The flavor seems to build. Each sip is different from the next. The flavor profile seems to change. In wine terms, we say that the wine has opened up. Its intensity changes. What seems strong in the beginning is now softer and more rounded. In wines, we get this change in both red and white wines, which can be confusing. This is where I recommend that you conduct your own wine and food experiments. Don’t be afraid to eat what you like and drink what you like. You never know; wine experts can learn a thing or two from you our customers.
Another good rule to think of is whether or not you want to compliment or contrast your wine and food experience. If you want to contrast the wine and food, then experiment away. However, if you want to compliment where the food enhances the wine or vice-versa, this takes a little more note-taking on your part. Remember what I said about drinking what you like and eating what you like. This is finding the point where the two meets. Once you find that meeting point, note it down either on paper or your electronic device. Once you have this down you can build on it as you experiment with other food and wine pairings. Don’t rely on what is safe or what is the rule when it comes to food and wine pairings. Instead, I encourage you to be experimental and remember to eat what you like and to drink what you like as well. I am confident that you will find a happy medium between food and wine. You never know you might end up teaching wine experts a thing or two when it comes to food and wine pairing.