Many food connoisseurs fuss over incorrect pairing of wine and food. Wine is part and parcel of fine dining and experimenting is always a must. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Why is wine an integral part of fine dining?
It has become an important part of a fine meal not because of its ability to make you tipsy, but depending on the meal, the right choice of wine can enhance the flavours of the meal. Wine is known to accentuate flavours, bringing it up front, clearing the palate and neutralizing strong salty or bitter flavours. It is also used as an ingredient when cooking.
Why is pairing wine with food so important?
While wine does accentuate the flavour of fine foods, if paired wrongly it can make your meal taste bitter, horribly sweet or even metallic. Sommeliers of top, fine-dining restaurants are employed for their fine tongue, able to discern the flavours of each wine. However, this does not mean you need to be a sommelier to choose wines to match food items.
What do you consider when matching wine with food?
• Body – rich, strongly flavoured foods should be accompanied with a wine consisting of a rich body, otherwise the wine could possibly overpower the flavour of the meal. If serving up spicy lamb, then a merlot is a good choice of wine.
• Flavour – sweet dishes and desserts are best paired up with sweet wines. The more acidic wines go well with salad dressings, salty foods and even tart, sharp sauces. Remember, the flavour of the wine must be less strong than the meal you serve. Otherwise you run the risk of the wine appearing to be sour or even rather dull.
• Alcohol – wines containing a lower content of alcohol are best to pair up with food.
The rule really with food and wine is that like is paired with like; like white meat with white wines and red meats with red wines.