Food and wine pairingWine pairing is a learned art that may seem complicated, but is pretty easy when you learn a few fundamentals. Pairing food and wine should create a pleasing balance between the components of the dish you’re eating with the characteristics of the wine you’re drinking. Our wine experts at Pascale’s Liquor in Liverpool, New York, can help you select an appropriate wine for any meal and teach you some wine pairing basics.

Food And Wine Pairing Basics

Wine/food pairings take practice, but are based on balancing aroma compounds, which can be complementary or congruent. Complementary pairings contrast tastes and flavors, while congruent pairings amplify shared flavors. There are six primary tastes: salty, acidic, sweet, bitter, fatty and spicy. Simplify a dish down to its dominant tastes, then consider the intensity of both the dish and the wine. Keep these basics in mind:

  • Wine should be sweeter or more acidic than the dish.
  • Wine should have the same flavor intensity as the dish.
  • Pair wines based on the sauce, not the meat/main ingredient.
  • Balance bitter wines with fatty dishes.
  • Pair bold-flavored red meats with red wines.
  • Pair lighter meats like fish and chicken with white wines.

Pairings Based On Wine Types

Bold reds complement steaks, chops and barbecue, especially fatty cuts of meat; hard cheeses; and roasted or grilled red meats.

Medium reds pair with multi-ingredient dishes, especially those containing exotic and aromatic spices, nightshades, fungi and/or alliums; pungent cheeses; and pork, especially smoked.

Light reds pair with leaner cuts of meat, rare red meats, cured meats, poultry, sautéed or fried dishes, soft cheeses and mushrooms.

Rose wines pair with root vegetables and various squashes.

Rich whites complement poultry, lobster and shellfish; soft cheeses and creams; and mushrooms.

Light whites pair with a variety of herbs, beans, peas, green vegetables, poached or steamed dishes and raw or cooked fish.

Sparkling wines complement raw fish and mollusks like oysters, clams and mussels.

Sweet whites can complement or contrast fruits, berries, sweet starchy vegetables, whole wheat grains, aromatic spices, hot and spicy dishes, nuts, seeds and cured meats.

Dessert wines work with chocolate and coffee, baking spices and pungent cheeses.

Learn other amazing food and wine combinations from wine pairing charts or speak with our wine pairing experts at Pascale’s Liquor. Visit us in Central New York at 7401 Oswego Road or contact us at 315-701-0781 for more food and wine pairing suggestions.