What Foods Compliment Wine?

Wine, essentially a food itself, is complemented by an incredibly diverse number of foods. Many wines and foods were meant to be enjoyed together, bringing about each other's nuances and individual characteristics. Long gone are the days of simply pairing red meat with a Claret or Chablis with poultry.

When serving acidic dishes containing citrusy foods or sauces with vinegar, stay with an acidic wine such as a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or any sparkling wine. Pinot Grigio is perfect for lemon based dishes such as Greek salads.

For zesty recipes made with tomato sauces, choose a wine with a comparable acidity level such as the dry Chianti along with fettuccine prepared with tomato sauce. Fettuccine Alfredo, on the other hand, is best with a Chardonnay, which complements seafood such as lobster most deliciously.

Buttery, creamy sauces should be paired with New World Chardonnays that are also flavourful. Marrying similar flavours and textures is an ideal way of finding foods that compliment wines.

Spicy foods can be paired beautifully with sweet, dessert wines, causing the two to play off of each other's opposing flavours. Hot dishes that tend to numb the palate need an opposite to help cleanse the palate.

Meats, including game meats, pair well with red wines such as a classic Burgundy Pinot Noir whose flavour accentuates those within the meat. Chicken is a versatile food to serve along with wine as it pairs well with Bordeaux and Burgundies as well as Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc. Duck, quail and turkey, a bit more flavourful than chicken, will need a rich, hearty wine.

For most pork dishes, try a rich wine like Pinot Blanc or most all Chardonnays. Ham can be a challenge when it comes to matching an appropriate wine because of its highly salty taste and strong flavour. Consider a fruity Zinfandel or Pinot Blanc to offset the meat's strong taste.

Pair foie gras with a Burgundy in either red or white, and lamb should be matched with Bordeaux or any dry, red wines. Beef meals like steaks and roasts are best with tannic wines like a dry Cabernet Sauvignon or deep Merlot.

You will also want to take into consideration the way a dish has been prepared when finding foods that compliment a certain type of wine. Foods prepared lightly such as through steaming or poaching will be most appreciated with a wine that is delicate in nature. When foods are prepared more flavourfully through braising, grilling, roasting, or sauting, you will want to match the wine with the sauce used.

In terms of cheese, choose deep, red wines for either sharp or mild cheeses and for those with a strong, pungent taste, opt for fruity, sweet wines. For soft cheeses like brie or camembert, most all red wines will be appropriate. Red wines also pair well with hard cheeses such as blue cheese.

If you will be serving more than one wine with your meal, always serve the lighter one first so the full bodied wine doesn't interfere with the food's taste. Likewise, serve dry wines before their sweeter counterparts unless the main entre or similar dish is also sweet in nature.


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