Achieving the coveted balance on the tablecloth between the culinary proposal and the oenological offer is an art that not all lovers of good food come to master.
However, as food and wine work well together, the ideal is to know how to make as many combinations as possible, the better.
The fact that you are here is a clear indication that you are interested in how to make a wine pairing . If what I say is true, we are in tune, because my intention is to reveal all the secrets about a technique that will give you memorable sensations .
Will you accompany me on the exciting journey through the exclusive world of wine pairing?
What is wine pairing?
In the wine and gastronomy environment, wine pairing, as its name suggests, corresponds to the process of “marrying” a food with a specific type of wine. Its objective is none other than to give rise to incomparable flavors while enjoying a good table.
Unquestionably, certain flavors and textures are prone to provoke wonderful combinations on the palate and the pairing is responsible for awakening them. You may be thinking that such a question is not trivial, since the wine and food combinations are endless.
The truth is that you do not lack some reason but in this sense I have good news for you.
Not surprisingly, fortune has played a decisive role so that the combination of wine and food is not a merely arbitrary matter left to fate, but quite the opposite.
Thus, there are some rules for pairing wine and food that I want to make known to you.
Tips for a good wine pairing
It is undeniable that wine pairing is a particularly controversial aspect when it comes to the world of oenology.
My idea is that your knowledge transcends the classic formula that “fish must marry with white wine while meat dishes must be accompanied by red wine.”
Surely you are with me that it would be a waste of waste to waste the “boom” of new varieties of vines, wineries and wines that we have attended in recent years and that, together with the high point that gastronomic culture is going through, has accentuated the level of complication of the issues inherent to wine pairing .
However, it is interesting to allude to the fact that pairing, despite the fact that it is an art on which a series of rules weigh, is also still a matter of taste.
For this reason, when carrying out this succulent “marriage”, the nature of the food to be prepared, the way it is cooked and the personal taste of the diners must be valued.
Therefore, pairing goes hand in hand with experimentation and the advice that I am going to provide you with is not intended to be numerus clausus but rather to serve as guiding principles that facilitate the work of making the communion of flavors and aromas work. between the different wines and foods.
Here are the 5 tips to make a good wine pairing:
1. The menu is a global concept
A high percentage of sommeliers agree that it is necessary to think about the elements that make up a menu, understanding that all of them make up a global experience.
The general rule of thumb is that we will never serve a more full-bodied wine as a predecessor to a lighter wine .
Otherwise, we would run the risk that the second wine would be insipid in the palates of the diners.
2. The concepts of weight and balance must be understood
While in the case of food, the weight is defined by the raw materials used in the preparation of the dish, the amount of fat it incorporates or the power of the flavors; in the case of wines, the weight is determined by the body and the intensity of the wine’s flavor.
When looking for balance, we must try to make the weight of the plate and the wine similar.
3. The key is in the dilemma “Association Vs Contrast”
Dishes and wines can be linked according to two essential principles: by association or by contrast.
Thus, in the first case we have to try to make dishes and wines complement each other, being able to be associated by temperature, color, texture or flavors.
In the second case we will act in the opposite way, seeking the balance between dishes and wine through the opposite sensations that they offer us.
4. Prioritizing the way food is cooked is crucial
The weight of the food is not defined solely by the ingredients used, but rather has a much greater influence on the way in which it is cooked, or does it seem the same to you to prepare a grilled meat than to use it in a stew or in the company of a sauce? very spicy?
The ideal is to compensate the simplicity or complexity of the dish with the choice of wine.
5. Unleashing personal taste works
I have already commented that wine pairing is ultimately a matter of taste. Our own experience when it comes to combining colors, flavors, textures and aromas rules.
An infallible rule: choose the wine that you like to drink alone.
Think that this broth prints its identity stamp, giving you pleasure by itself, so you will not lack resources to combine with your favorite dishes. Now you just need to discover which ones.
Wine and food, what is the perfect pairing?
The starting point is that in the pairing of wines there are no issues engraved with fire since the intervention of our senses in the way we perceive the aromas, colors, textures and flavor of food makes the result count on a important factor of subjectivity.
Despite this, the complexity that wine consumption and gastronomy have acquired over time has led to the establishment of a series of widely accepted conventions .
Can we decipher together the fundamental keys that will help us to be fully successful in pairing wine and food?
In the case of dishes made with meat, you have to choose a combination that highlights wine and meat , if you want to enjoy both parts properly.
Think that if a meal is stronger than the wine you are drinking, it will be difficult for the latter to fulfill its role in pairing.
When it comes to dishes made with meat, choose a combination that highlights the best of the food and reveals all the subtlety that wine contains .
The success is because you follow the advice to combine game meats with older red wines and white meats, such as chicken or other poultry, with younger red wines.
Fish is a difficult food to pair with certain wines because its oils cling to the taste buds, particularly the fatty ones. Being a particularly complicated matter, I am going to make things easy for you.
Try combining the 4 varieties of fin fish as I indicate below:
- Lean and flaky fish with fresh light white wines, green or creamy but with good acidity
- Fish of medium or semi-fatty texture with white wines with a more fruity and aromatic middle layer or more unctuous high layer
- Fatty fish with honeyed white wines with a lot of body and flavor or even with powerful red wines and very fruity rosé wines
- Fish with pronounced flavor with full-bodied white wines or even with more saline and mineral white wines as well as sparkling
The good pairing of wine and sausages can be seen in the traditional Spanish “snack” that produces so many satisfactions to the palate. When it comes to having an aperitif, sausages are the kings of our gastronomy and fine-tune the pairing between the two, a high-level culinary activity.
For there to be harmony of the senses, the choice of the starter is as important as that of the accompaniment .
A Serrano ham tastes better with a good glass of Fino or Manzanilla and even with a young red wine, chorizo and salchichón marry very well with fruity wines and the loin with young wines and crianza wines made with Tempranillo grapes.
The relationship between cheese and wine is not new and is considered one of the best gastronomic combinations , as long as a series of basic notions in relation to both delicacies are respected.
Specifically, I am referring to the fact that the flavor of the cheese must be less than or equal to that of the wine , that we must observe the type of milk (cow, goat, sheep or mixture, among others) and that we must attend to the type of elaboration and to the possible existence of maturation (fresh, semi-cured, cured or old).
Do not be afraid to try and remember that combining cheese and wine made in the same place or region tends to work well, as well as that , the more the cheese is cured, the longer the wine is aged and, therefore, more body .
As for soft cheeses, they pair perfectly with sparkling wines and sparkling wines.
The versatility that characterizes pasta allows it to be combined with red, white, rosé and even sparkling wines. The secret of a good pairing will depend in this case on the rest of the ingredients or the sauces that accompany the pasta.
Thus, rosé wine combines well with basic pasta that simply goes with oregano and olive oil, while pasta with tomato sauce or pomodoro sauce is best enjoyed with red wine.
As for pasta with vegetables, it requires a young red, a medium-bodied rosé or a white wine with a certain body. Finally, pasta made with mushrooms pairs well with a red or white with a certain body and that which goes with a pesto sauce with fresh, fruity white wines.
Do you think that desserts only pair with sweet wines?
Well let me tell you that you are wrong since, for example, chocolate and red wine make a great pairing.
Now, this is not the only surprise that you are going to take related to the dessert-wine union.
The fruit compotes pair well with aged reds, while the acidity of the fruit salads is complemented by the freshness of cold white wines.
As for creams and cakes, they can be accompanied with dry sparkling wines and even with young red wines. Ice creams are likely to be combined with sweeter or sparkling and semi-dry wines.
And what about the fruits? Well, the sweetest ones combine with wines made from the Muscat variety and the most citric ones with wines made with Sauvignon Blanc or Verdejo grapes .
Sample menu with wine pairing
Do you think if we put an example of a menu with wine pairing? Few better ways to assimilate a concept than seeing its practical application.
- The first course consists of a black rice with cuttlefish accompanied by a Fino . You must serve this wine, perfect for rice, seafood, fish or tapas , very cold.
- The second dish consists of white thistles with almonds and prawns accompanied by an Amontillado . Serve this wine, ideal for aperitifs, hot soups, cold meats, fried fish, vegetables and cured cheeses , but not as cold as the previous one.
- The third dish consists of a bull’s tail accompanied by an Oloroso . The service of this wine, ideal for stews, tuna, nuts, cheeses, red and game meats or desserts, must be produced at the same temperature as Amontillado .
- The dessert consists of cheese brownie and roquefort . How could it be otherwise, serve it with a Pedro Ximénez , unbeatable for pastries, pure chocolate, foie or blue cheeses, at room temperature.
To conclude this post, I want to reinforce the idea that wines are timeless and that their pairing is closely related to personal taste, although there is an ideal wine for every occasion.
Along these lines, talking about pairings in the wine environment means talking about tastes, tradition and innovation , opposing concepts that complement each other.
There is no rule or pattern to follow , as this concept is in a process of permanent change given the continuous gastronomic innovations, although there are a series of basic notions that usually give a sensational result.