With the number of wine varietals that are produced each year, it can be overwhelming to pick the perfect pairing that truly pulls out the flavors in your meal. Many people revert to the common rules of white wine with fish or red wine with red meat.
Those rules are meant to be broken though. Many red wines, such as pinot noir or Syrah, as well as rose and sparkling varietals complement seafood too, from salmon to ahi tuna.
Let’s break down some essentials of wine pairing. These six rules will make you a pro when it comes to selecting a glass of wine that truly enhances your meal.
1. Acidity in wine pairs well with fatty and sweet foods.
2. Fatty foods need either an acidic or high-alcohol wine.
3. Bitter (or tannic) wine becomes balanced with a sweet food.
4. Salty flavors shouldn’t compete with the acidity in wine. Moderately salt your food when pairing with wine for a balanced pairing.
5. Sweet food and wine benefits from a little acidity. It goes both ways.
6. Alcohol can be used to cut through fatty foods or balance a sweet dish.
Sweeter Wines with Asian Flavors
Since Riesling is one of the most aromatic grape varietals in the world, its taste begins in the nose. You’ll find floral aromas and notes of nectarine, apricot, honey-crisp apple and pear.
This wine’s high acidity level makes its ideal pairing a meal with sweeter flavors. Think maple bacon, candied pecans and salted caramels. The sweet sauces that are commonly found in Asian dishes appeal to this wine varietal as well. Alternatively, pairing a sweet Riesling with salty food will be a delight.
Try it at The Vineyard: Pair the new Vegetable Stir Fry, which is made with a sweet molasses and fresh ginger sauce, with North by Northwest Riesling.
Merlot and Anything
Merlot characteristics include easy tannins and a soft finish, making for a smooth finish. However, this varietal is a chameleon when it comes to food pairings based on the region it is grown. Merlot that is grown in cool climates like France and Italy has higher tannins and earthy flavors while those grown in the warm climates of California and Argentina present as more fruit forward with less tannins.
Since it sits along the middle of the red wine spectrum, Merlot pairs well with a variety of foods including lean meats or spiced red meats.
Try it at The Vineyard: Go for a vegetarian pairing by matching the Guacamole Potato Skins, topped with ancho cashew sour cream and pico de gallo, with a glass of Clos du Val Merlot.