5 Wine & Food Pairing Guidelines from Wine Folly
Champion the Wine
The number one guideline is to bring out the best characteristics of a wine. A high tannin red wine will taste like sweet cherries when paired with the right dish. Focus on the characteristics that you want to champion and make sure that the wine will shine instead of fighting against the food.
Bitter + Bitter = Bad
Since our taste buds are very sensitive to bitterness, it’s important to pay special attention to not pair bitter food and high tannin wine. Green Beans withCabernet Sauvignon will multiply bitter tastes. If you want to pair a high tannin wine, look to foods with fat, umami and salt for balance.
Wine Should be Sweeter
As a general rule, make sure that the wine is sweeter than the food and you will have a successful wine pairing. If the wine is less sweet than the food it’s matched with, it will tend to taste bitter and tart. This is why Port wine is perfect with dessert.
Wine Should be More Tart
A wine should have higher acidity than the food it’s matched with otherwise it will taste flabby. For instance, a salad with vinaigrette is better with an extra brut Champagne than a buttery Chardonnay.
Improve an Earthy Wine
Ever hear that Old World Wine is better with food? On their own, Old World wines can be very earthy and tart. However, when you pair an earthy wine with something even more earthy like mushroom stroganoff, then the wine tastes more fruity.