Wine is a course, of course!

I’ve read that wine can be considered a separate course in meal. Not served sequentially like a traditional course, but simultaneously with food. Think of it as two courses served together that complement each other. The classical notion of pairing was that white wine should be served with fish and chicken, and red wine should be served with beef. The idea was the color of the food should match the color of the wine. While this approach to food and wine pairing isn’t necessarily wrong, it is very limiting and discounts the wonderful complexities of the many available varietals and blended wines. In general, it is safe to pair lighter wines with lighter foods and heavier wines with heavier foods, but why always be traditional and safe? There’s so much more that can be gained from stepping out of this paradigm. Here are a few simple guidelines for pairing food with wine:

1. The wine you choose should be a good quality wine. Don’t let a marginal wine diminish your experience.

2. A good starting point is to pair delicate and bold flavors with corresponding wines, like

– Shiraz (syrah) or cabernet sauvignon with steak
– Muscadet with oysters
– Pinot Grigio with fish

3. If the dish is served with a flavorful sauce, pair the wine to the sauce, like

– Chardonnay with crab served with clarified butter
– Sauvignon Blanc with lemon chicken
– Chianti with pasta in marinara

4. If all else fails, high acidity wines tend to go with almost anything, like

– Pinot Noir
– Riesling
– Drier sparkling wines

(Personally, I haven’t found a dish that didn’t pair well with Champagne. And it’s not coincidental that Beaujolais is released at Thanksgiving since its lighter weight and higher acidity pair well with turkey and stuffing.)

5. Finally, the one rule that should rarely be broken – dessert wines should always be sweeter than the dessert. If not, you will lose the taste of the wine.

Fortunately, Gourmet Your Way can take care of all your food and wine pairing needs. We have vast experience in creating successful food and wine pairing dinners, and we can always make recommendations for pairing wines to your individual dishes. Please contact Gourmet Your Way if you’d like to schedule your own food and wine pairing experience!

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