The Seven Rules
There comes a time in one’s wine blogging career (or food blogging for that matter) when one writes the inevitable post on food and wine pairing. Lucky for you, today is that day, dear readers. Alright, this might be your zillionth time reading someone’s suggestions or rules on food and wine pairing, or possibly your first. However, whether veteran or newbie wine blog reader, I’m sure you’re all just dying to learn Derek’s Rules for Food and Wine Pairing (looks very official, don’cha think?) Without further ado, but with the disclaimer that all things wine and food are subjective (so no coming back at me with complaints of cruddy advice) I give you Derek’s 7 rules…
1. Think of the origin of the food you are planning to enjoy and then think of what wines come from that region. For instance, planning a Tuscan-influenced feast? A Sangiovese-based wine would be a great place to start. Like paella? Then a wine consisting of Tempranillo or Granacha would fit the bill splendidly. And no, that is not a subtle plug for Derek’s favorite varietals (hands in pocket, looking up innocently at the sky and whistling…)
2. With food, you want lower-alcohol wines (>15%) especially with spicy food. Unless you enjoy a good case of heartburn.
3. Try higher acidity wines, both red and white, as they tend to be better palate cleansers, allowing you to appreciate each bite with a refreshed palate. Higher acidity also tends to counter saltiness.
4. Pair a more tannic wine with foods that have a bitter aspect to them. This might be anything grilled, NOT barbecued (totally different beast…ba dum dum) or the more rustic greens like arugula. Think big red Bordeaux with a grilled steak.
5. Have the wines and foods “weighted” similarly. A light fish dish would do well with a lighter Pinot Noir, Grenache, or crisp white wine. Braised meats and stews might call for a California Cabernet Sauvignon, Toro (Spanish big red), or wines of Bolgheri (Italian non-Sangiovese big red).
6. If you are like a beaver and really love yourself some wood (boy, did that ever come out awkward) then a strong oak aspect might be to your liking. However, keep in mind that for whatever reason, the “oakiness” of a wine is accentuated by food. So if you don’t find yourself identifying with certain aquatic rodents, then look for low-oak wines to pair with food.
7. Finally, if you are at a restaurant or wine shop, ask the wait-staff or wine steward. Don’t be embarrassed to ask them- that’s what they are there for. Most are quite willing to share their opinion and a majority generally have no better idea than you do (insert smirking face emoji).
The bottom line is that food and wine pairing should be an enjoyable experience, not a stressful one. Toy around with some different combinations on your own and then surprise your friends with your gastro-enological genius![jetpack_subscription_form]