Pairing Foods with Wines
For wine lovers, there are a thousand ways to enjoy a glass of wine. Lying back with a crisp glass of white, cozying up underneath a blanket with a warm red, or even mingling at a party with a festive rose are all fabulous ways to unwind. But for many, the best time to enjoy wine is when it is perfectly paired with a scrumptious dinner.
At Trinchero Family Estates, we believe you can enjoy remarkable wines with everyday meals on any day of the week. In fact, we have included several resources to help you match the perfect wines with your preferred dishes. To see some of our favorite combinations, listen to our Vine to Dine podcasts or visit the websites of your favorite Trinchero wines.
As you begin choosing the right bottles for your meal, keep in mind that flavors should compliment each other even if they do not match. For instance, we love the spicy, peppery flavors of the Little Boomey Shiraz when paired with a spicy sausage dish. Combining the similar flavors yields cohesion for your taste buds.
You may also want to consider combining wines and foods with contrasting flavors to give you a balanced dining experience. Pairing the fruit-forward Ménage à Trois Chardonnay, for example, with a salty cheese or pasta will really bring out the flavors of each.
Flavor pairings can be subjective and open to interpretation, but there seems to be a general agreement in the wine community to pair light foods with light wines and heavy foods with heavy wines. A light dish, like seafood or stir-fry, would best be suited for a delicate white, like the Sutter Home Pinot Grigio. Similarly, a thick cut of steak or a heavy burger would pair well with the Bandit Cabernet Sauvignon. The "white wine with white meat, red wine with red meat" rule is fairly standard, but trust your instincts here. If you feel that a recommended wine and food pairing would compromise your favorite flavors, feel free to try something different.
The final basic rule for pairing wine with food is to keep in mind the respective acidity levels for each. Some wines, often whites, are intentionally tart with high levels of acid to provide a refreshing finish. These wines are best when paired with equally acidic dishes, like those featuring vinaigrette dressings or tomato-based sauces. A low-acid wine is likely to be overpowered by the strong flavors of a highly acidic dish.
As you begin to experiment with wine pairings, remember to try variations of the same varietals. Remember, climate and region can affect the flavors of the grapes, so a light chicken dish that you enjoyed with a cool-climate Riesling may not pair so well with the full-bodied texture of a warm-climate Riesling.
All of the above are mere guidelines, but because every wine is complex and every opinion unique, the best way to learn is through your own trial and error. Take note when you discover a great pairing, and never be afraid to branch out.