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Wine – Some Suggestions for Combining Food and Wine

If I’ve heard it once or I’ve heard it a hundred times, (and I’ve said it more times than I can count,) the rules for matching food and wine are slowly disappearing. In fact, I think the sommeliers and chefs around the world are making up new rules as they experience new cooking techniques, spices, and foods. For those of you that love to try new recipes and have no idea how to match the dish with the perfect wine here are a few rules you can follow that will help guide you in the right direction.

Some factors to consider are; weight, sweetness, acidity, and tannins.

First consider the weight of the food and match it to the weight of a wine. For those of us that like to break with tradition a full bodied white can be a better match with white meat than a lighter red wine.

If at this point you are confused as to how to delegate your dish into categories because it is more complex than weight, like a chicken with a cream sauce. You might want to start with the sauce. Is it a sweet sauce, cream base or maybe a tomato base.

Consider the sweetness. Sweet foods match better with sweet wine. A dry wine can be over-acidic or tart when consumed with a sweet dish. Sweet wines also match well with pate or strong cheese. I won’t explain why the pate and cheese go well, you will have to trust me on this one.

Wines with medium to high acidity go well with acidic dishes. Tomato based foods match well with wines that have a crisp acidity. Wines high in acidity are also a good match with oily foods. A good example is a classic Italian Chianti. The chicken with cream sauce dish will also match well with a full bodied white with good acidity such as a Chardonnay. But dishes with high acids using lemon or vinegar will over-power most wines,

The protein in red meat soften the tannins in red wine, hence, wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz go well with red meats and stews. Wines with soft tannins are a good choice for white meat and lighter dishes.

Another way to match food is to match the flavor and fruit character of the wine to the dish. Gew├╝rztraminer has a spice that goes well with the Asian spicy dishes and oaked wines go well with smoked foods.

Wine – Matching Food with Wine.

There is always the traditional rules for matching your meal with a wine. Here I have listed a few of my favorite food and wine matches. Some suggestions might be a little different. I recommend trying anything that is new to you and sounds interesting. It might turn out to be your favorite match.

Almonds accompanied with Sherry.
Antipasto with Soave, or Pinot Grigio.
Beef Stroganoff with Brunello, or Hermitage.
Caviar with Champagne, or Ice Vodka.
Caesar Salad with Chardonnay.
Chili with Brut Champagne.
Crab with Zinfandel.
Crab cakes with Sauvignon Blanc.
Eggs with Brut Champagne and Orange Juice.
(Eggs do not have a good relationship with wine on their own. For this reason I recommend inexpensive wine or a orange juice combination.)
Guacamole with Chardonnay, or beer.
Oysters with Chablis.
Rack of Lamb with Bordeaux.
Roast Chicken with Beaujolais.
Salmon with Chablis, or Pinot Noir.
Steak with Cabernet Sauvignon, or Champaign.
T-bone Steak with Chianti.
Thai Dishes with Riesling.
Tomatoes with Chianti.
We want to here your food and wine combinations, so start a discussion and post your suggestions.

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