Food and wine pairing principles leads to a beautiful plate of food that complements and enhances the beautiful wine! Let’s check the following rules!
Rule one: Acid needs acid
Any food with a high acid level, something you just want to squeeze a lemon onto, is a perfect match for a high acid wine. Serving a high acid wine with a meal like this, and you will bring out the citrus notes of your food. If you are serving Chicken Picatta, or pasta with tomato sauce, opt for a Barolo, Sauvignon Blanc or Chianti.
Rule Two: Tannins Need Fat
Tannin causes bitter, pucker feeling in the back of your throat. This needs fat for balance; fat will soften the tannins and bring a smoother feel. Serve a bold Cabernet with a nice fatty piece of Prime Rib.
Rule Three: Fish Goes with Acid, Not With Tannins
We have all heard the old rule of: White Wine for White Meat, Red Wine for Red Meat. The reason for that is acid and tannins, not color. If you are serving fish, think of the wine as you would a squeeze of lemon on top (high acid wine) rather than a sprinkle of cheese (tannin heavy red wine).
Rule Four: Pair Wine With Dominant Flavor, Not Necessarily The Meat
This is another reason to ignore the old rule White for White, Red for Red. If the sauce on your plate is the dominant flavor, pair to that, not the meat.
Rule Five: Heat Needs Sugar
Serving a super spicy dish with a high alcohol, tannin heavy wine with will set your guests on fire, as alcohol intensifies the heat. If however, you cooked a dish that is much more mellow that you have intended, pair with one of those high tannin, high alcohol wines to crank up the heat. Even if you don’t like sweeter wines, you will be surprised at how those sugars are altered with introduction of the heat. Try a Gewürztraminer or a Riesling.
Rule Six: Sweet Needs Sweeter
You want the wine to be sweeter than the dessert. Even if you are not drawn to the sweeter wines, taking a sip of a rich, sweet port before, and after, a bit of a dense fudgy cake completely transforms the flavors of both elements.