Our Top 3 Tips for Food and Wine Pairings

You love food, you love wine, so why not pair them together for an incredible palate pleaser? A ‘winegazm’, if you will.  Food and wine pairings may sound fancy and over your head, but they don’t have to be. Below we’ll break down our top three tips to pair your favorite foods with affordable, easy-to-find wines that you’ll love.

Tip #1. Fatty Foods Love Tannins

Don’t get boxed into the idea that a dish has only one perfect wine pairing. Yes, there are classic food and wine pairings that stand the test of time and constantly deliver. I’m looking at you, steak and Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s nothing quite like a grilled ribeye served with a big and bold Jordan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. But have you tried the same Jordan Cabernet with grilled portobello mushrooms and a balsamic glaze? Or how about that ribeye with an Australian Shiraz? The combinations are endless.

Why does steak and Cab work so well? Tannins (found in a Cab) dry and break up fat. Tannins are a naturally occurring chemical compound found on the skins of grapes. Skins are used in red wine production and are particularly prevalent in Cabernet Sauvignon. Red wines with tannins give a bitter, drying, and astringent sensation on the tongue. Fatty foods, such as steak, go well with tannic wines because the tannins break up the fat in the food. The fat in the food replenishes the moisture in your mouth from the tannins in the wine. It’s like wine magic!

Tip #2. Consider the Sauces and Seasonings

Think less of the actual entree and more about the method of preparation and its sauces or seasonings. Chicken, for example, is quite versatile. As every home chef knows, you can get chicken to taste like anything, hence the phrase: it tastes like chicken! When you’re thinking of a wine pairing for your chicken dish, think of how it was cooked (i.e., fried, baked, sauteed, or roasted) and think about how it’s seasoned. Are we talking BBQ chicken, chicken marsala, or chicken baked with a simple salt, pepper, and rosemary seasoning?

You might think white wine is the best pairing for chicken. But what about BBQ chicken that is roasted over an open fire and slathered in sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. A more perfect pairing is a spicy little red number from Chile such as the  Viña San Esteban In Situ Carmenere Reserva. The Carmenere grape has a nice spicy, peppery note that goes perfect with the flavors or BBQ. As an added bonus, this wine goes well with your full BBQ plate. Perhaps you plated BBQ tri-tip and chicken. One wine works for both. Voila! Some more wine magic!

Tip #3. Accentuate the Positive and Balance Out the Opposite

Let’s talk about two different approaches to food and wine pairing. There is the idea of balancing and then there is the idea of accentuating.  Balancing entails thinking of opposites.

Let’s look back at the fried chicken example. Fried chicken is fatty, rich, greasy, salty, and crunchy – and delicious! If we want to balance that out and cleanse our palates, Champagne is a great option. Champagne (like all sparkling wines) has high acidity, that acidity cuts through the fat of the fried chicken. It’s really quite refreshing after a mouthful of fried chicken.  And believe it or not, fried chicken and Champagne is a classic pairing. There are even fried chicken and Champagne tastings! A favorite Champagne for your fried chicken pairings is G.H. Mumm Gran Cordon Brut ($50).

The second approach is to accentuate.
Accentuate uses the “like with like” philosophy. Let’s refer back to the fried chicken from the example above. Fried chicken is fatty, oily, greasy, and rich. If you want to accentuate those flavors, a perfect pairing would be an oaked Chardonnay. What some would call a rich and buttery Chardonnay such as Bonterra Estate Collection Chardonnay ($20). You’re leaning into the same rich vibe and not running away from them. Just step into that richness!

Food and wine pairings may appear fussy, but they’re actually very easy. Sometimes the perfect pairing is the food on your plate plus the wine in your glass. Or simply enjoying sweet and salty snacks and a Chardonnay while curled up on your couch.

But if you’re interested in taking a walk on the wild side and want to see just how good your wine can taste, you can’t go wrong with Winegazm’s perfectly paired snacks for your favorite wines.

Leave a Reply

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top