5 Great Food and Wine Combinations
One of the most joyous moments in life is finding a truly great food and wine combination. It might be that first sip of light fizz with a hint of citrus to wash down a simple supper of fish and chips. It might be elevating a humble mushroom dish to something ethereal with a glass of rich pinot noir. It might even be that bottle of champagne that you swig while dipping your hand into a bag of Doritos. The good thing about pairing wine and food successfully is that it is entirely down to your own tastes and preferences - while there might appear to be all sorts of 'rules' surrounding pairing, you can go with whatever you want.
However, if you do want to avoid costly mistakes or want to be able to order a wine with confidence when dining out, you can take a look at Vino Del Vida for advice or check out our guide to these five superb food and wine combinations.
You might also want to consider your selection of winery. Okanagan Winery, for instance, is known for serving wines with quite extraordinary directness of fruits. Similar to the wines of the deserts of the south, Okanagan wines have an incredible natural acidity, thanks to the cool desert nights.
Photo by Stefan Johnson on Unsplash
1. Salty foods
Think charcuterie board. Think bacon and salami. Think manchego cheese and feta. Think prosciutto. Think olives. Think anchovies. All delicious foods, perfect for a dinner party appetizer or the main event at a drinks event. All of these foods have a salty element to them, and you will need a wine to cut through that. You can go one of two ways here. Firstly, you could look for something that is bold and tannic, such as a chianti or cabernet sauvignon-based wine, which will work brilliantly with the saltiness. The other option is to go for an acidic and fruity wine, such as sauvignon blanc or riesling, as the fruity zing will complement the saltiness.
2. Creamy foods
Pasta smothered in a rich, buttery sauce. Fondues of thick, oozy cheese. This sort of food is both luxurious and comforting, simple and sophisticated, so needs a good wine to pair with. A new world Chardonnay works perfectly against the creaminess, as does white rioja, with its dense texture. Alternatively, look at brisk, acidic white to cut through the richness and cleanse your palate between mouthfuls.
3. Spicy foods
Hot and spicy foods, such as curry, can be awkward to pair a wine with, but once you find that perfect combination, you are on to a winner. Anything with a lot of chili or bold spices can completely overpower a dry white wine, so put that one out of mind. If you want to ramp up the heat party in your mouth, find a high tannin red, such as a robust Malbec. If you don't want to blow your head off, avoid anything like that and go for something with a hint of sweetness - don't discount a slightly drier rose wine!
4. Sweet foods and desserts
The sweetness in foods can wipe out the flavor of dry wines, so any dishes with a hint of sweetness - a tagine with apricots, or a curry with coconut milk need this taking into consideration. A general rule of thumb is to go for something with a hint of subtle sweetness to mirror the ingredients - a fruity and crisp zinfandel, for example. When delving into the world of desserts, a dessert wine is always going to be the way forward. The wine should, as a rule, be slightly sweeter than the food, so a gently sparkling Moscato d'Asti from Italy works brilliantly with something like a cake or tropical fruit dessert. However, chocolate is a whole different story. The melty, tongue coating texture of this delicious food makes it especially challenging to pair with - avoid anything too dry, and look for a sweet red, such as a muscat or a Lambrusco.
5. Umami and meaty
Umami is a relatively new flavour concept in the western world, so finding a wine to marry it with is still in the earlier stages. Umami is heavily used in the Far East in their broths and sauces- think deep, meaty flavours, not all too dissimilar to those in a hearty and comforting beef stew or a rich, hefty bolognese. These are not friendly to anything too tannic - you will, quite literally, end up with a bitter taste in your mouth. Instead, look for something juicy but a little acidic - perhaps a chianti or an aged Barolo.
The main thing to remember when pairing wine and food is that it is all about the body and flavours. Generally speaking, subtly flavoured foods need something lighter and fresher, rich and deep flavours can carry a dense and full-bodied wine.