Whether you are planning an intimate dinner or a 300-person wedding reception, there are a number of considerations for planning a menu. One key consideration that has become tragically overlooked in recent years is wine and spirits.
When done right, wine pairing has the ability to transform a meal, to elicit new flavors and highlight notes in both the food and the wine that you otherwise might have missed. Sommeliers describe this as the third flavor, born of the combination.
Of course, you don’t need to have a sommelier level pairing to enjoy the benefits of the interplay between wine and your meal. This guide is designed to give you the most basic tenets of wine pairing.
- Match Intensity
There are exceptions to this rule, but generally, it is best to find a wine that will match the intensity of your meal. For instance, if you use a lot of aromatics in your meal, even garlic and mirepoix, you don’t want to risk your food overshadowing your wine. Chose a wine with dominant fruit flavors that can stand up to the dish.
On the other hand, if you are serving a delicate dish, you don’t want to choose too fruity of a wine. Instead, opt for delicate flavors like minerality and subtle touches of fruit and oak.
- Compare and Contrast
There are two different schools of thought on wine pairing. Either you choose a wine with characteristics that complement your dish or characteristics that contrast it. Neither school is wholly wrong or correct, instead, it is a matter of balance and individual taste.
Say you are planning to make a pasta dish with a cream sauce, many would choose a Pouilly Fuisse or other buttery Chardonnay to highlight the sauce. Others might opt instead for a light Pinot Noir, who’s strong acidity will help cleanse the palate with each sip and whose earthy notes will contrast the sweetness of the cream.
- When In Doubt, Sparkle
Sparkling wine, whether that is a cava, champagne, prosecco, or sekt, is an excellent choice for almost any dish. The piercing acidity typically found in these wines means that it can cut through even the richest of dishes, and the rejuvenating effect of the carbonation will leave you refreshed after every sip.
Wine is experiencing a revival among millennials, who consumed 159.6 million cases of wine, or 42% of all wine sold in the United States in 2015. Despite this resurgence, many of the tricks for pairing wine with food has been lost. Hopefully, this blog has helped to inspire you to explore the worlds of wine pairing in your future visits to wine and spirits stores.
Peco’s Liquor is a leader among wine stores in Delaware, offering a wide range in types of wine, local beer, and liquors. And don’t forget to ask our wine and spirits sale team about pairing your next meal. Visit us today to learn more.