Pairing food with wine can be stressful for an amateur, especially in the situation where you are the host, at home or at a restaurant, and are selecting the wine for the whole group. After all, fancy restaurants have an entire individual dedicated to getting it right. Also, if you were to try and look up wine pairings on the internet you would be overwhelmed with conflicting information and some rather busy and difficult to understand charts.
Never fear. I am going to to share with you a few simple rules that will help take the stress away once an for all.
Number 1: There is no wrong pairing. How can this be? Well, simply put, if it tastes good to you, how can it be wrong? So if you want a very heavy red wine but are also in the mood for a light fish go for it. This might not be the best rule to rely on if you find you have very eccentric tastes and are ordering for a whole table.
Number 2: Experiment for yourself and see what you like. Wine and Food can either contradict or compliment each other. For example, do you like sweet wine with a salty dish? That would be an example of contradict. Or, if you are the type of person that cant get enough sweet you might like a sweet wine with your sweet dessert. This could be the basis for a fun dinner party. A few different types of food and a couple of bottles of wine and everyone can learn something! Each guest could even be in charge of one type of wine and could research what it should go with and you can compare.
Number 3: Heavy or Light? If you don’t want either your wine or your food to overpower the other, than you want to pair heavy food with heavy wines and light food with light wines. Examples of heavy foods are steak and potatoes or chicken smothered in a marinara sauce. If you aren’t sure which is which, a good starting point is red wines with red meats and white wines with white meats.
Number 4: Sweet with Heat. This is my favorite rule if you are eating spicy food. The residual sugars in a sweet wine can actually help dim the flames of very spicy foods. Conversely, a very dry wine can make the food seem hotter. Use your favorite food processor to whip up a batch of homemade salsa, and then divide it into separate dishes and add varying degrees of hot sauce. You may be surprised by how much heat you can withstand with a nice sweet glass of wine to sip on.