When selecting a wine to pair with a meal that features distinctive flavors or textures in each bite (think fish tacos or seared ahi), challenge yourself to find the one that brings all those sensorial cues together while also complementing them and magnifying their effect on your palate. Here are some tips and tricks to help you choose that perfect wine pairing for your meal.
Choose an Acidic Wine for Acidic Foods
When the focus is on bright, fresh, and tangy flavors (yogurt-marinated salmon, fennel salad), choose an acidic wine that will accentuate their tart notes. The acidity in the wine will sharpen your perception of the fruit acids on your palate and support the refreshing flavors.
Choose a Lighter Wine for Rich Foods
When the emphasis is on more creamy, intense, and even sweet flavors (think steak fries or roasted carrots), choose a light wine that will help soften their richness and deliver its essence to your pallet. The acidity of the wine will reinforce your perception of those sweet flavors.
Choose a Tannic Red for Rich, Concentrated Foods
When you’re after intense, rich, and concentrated flavors in food, ask yourself if those rich flavors and textures need some extra tannin to be amplified and brought into sharp focus. If it’s still not intense enough, choose a tannic red wine to support the texture and flavor profile. The tannin in the wine will further soften and smooth the texture of the wine while also setting off its flavor profile.
Choose a Rich, Structured White for Mild and Creamy Foods
When the texture of the wine needs to be a little more aggressive to support the mild and creamy flavors of your dish (think potato gnocchi or panna cotta), choose a rich white wine that will deliver those flavors with greater intensity and elegance. The richness of the wine will soften and smooth out some of those creamier notes while amplifying others.
Choose a Burgundy for Hearty, Mineral Foods
When focusing on minerally flavors in food (think oysters or seared tuna), choose a dry and structured white burgundy with high acid content to enhance its minerality. You’ll notice that the tannin in the wine will complement and amplify that minerality.
Choose a Full-Bodied Red for Strong, Savory Foods
When you’re after intense and rich flavors in food (think classic barbecue or roasted chicken), choose a robust red wine that embraces its intensity. The acidity of the wine will further strengthen those flavors while smoothing out its texture.
Choose a Buttery, Sauvignon Blanc for Mild, Delicate Foods
Choose a wine with high acidity when your meal has delicate flavors and bright, fresh textures (say briny seafood or fried oysters). This will amplify the lively flavors while also softening the textural characteristics of that dish.
Choose a Light, Fruity White for Rich and Creamy Foods
When you’re after intense, rich, and creamy flavors in food (think seared foie gras or cheesecake), choose a light, fruity white wine with high acidity to broaden its richness and deliver its richness.
In conclusion, the essential factor in choosing the right wine for your meal is ensuring it complements and enhances the flavors of your food. These tips will help you make a perfect combination. Good luck with your pairing!