A beginner's guide to food and wine pairing

A beginner's guide to food and wine pairing

Start with these basic pairings to elevate dishes to another level of flavour!

Drinking doesn’t always require an occasion to indulge in a glass of wine or interesting alcoholic concoction. There are so many types of Asian alcoholic drinks that you would struggle to get through them over the course of a week (not that encourage that, of course!) But not every drink is suitable to have with a meal. Wine is the normal beverage that’s recommended to pair with dishes. If you’ve wondered on food and wine pairing basics, then you’ve come to the right place.

9 food and wine pairing basics every self-professed gourmet should know

Some people start with food and then choose a wine to compliment the flavours. Others start with the wine and order food that will heighten the wine’s complexity of flavour. There isn’t a right or wrong approach. It takes time to experiment with different types of wine with dishes you love. You might be going for a contrast of flavours or something that enhances the taste of a dish.

Whatever you’re aiming to achieve, you should bear in mind that there are 6 tastes when considering food and wine pairing basics.

  • Sweet
  • Bitter
  • Salt
  • Fat
  • Spice
  • Acid

To help you figure out which wine to match with food according to the intensity of flavours, here are some classic examples of common dishes and what to drink with them.

1. Chardonnay & fatty fish

food and wine pairing basics

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Made from green grapes, it’s a dry wine that’s medium to full-bodied.

And Chardonnay is normally paired with fatty fish or a seafood dish with a creamy white sauce. The acidity isn’t too strong, but enough to cut through the fatty flavours.

2. Cabernet Sauvignon & steak

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When you think of food and wine pairing basics, red wine paired with steak frequently comes to mind. But make sure you don’t pick the wrong type. Dry red wine is more suitable with salmon and cured meats like chorizo.

They normally range from 12.5 to 13.5 alcohol per cent.

3. Dry rosé & cheese

food and wine pairing basics

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Cheese is a well-known ingredient used in food and wine pairing basics. Which is why a dry rosé does very well with cheesy dishes since there is acidity and a hint of fruitiness as well.

4. Shiraz & barbeque

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Food and wine pairing basics aren’t limited to a fine dining context! You can enjoy a glass of wine at a barbeque. But if the meat is marinated with spiced strong barbeque sauces, then a Shiraz won’t get drowned out and can hold its own when you’re chomping away.

5. Riesling & spicy dishes

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Many people order a milk or yogurt based drink to temper spicy dishes so you’re not left gasping for air. You’ll be glad to know that Riesling does a great job at dialing down the heat.

6. Zinfandel & pâté/terrine

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If you’re having afternoon snacks and want to enjoy creamy-smooth pâté, then zinfandel is a wonderful companion because of its fruity tones.

7. Champagne & smoked salmon

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In general, sparkling dry-wine is a refreshing accompaniment to salty dishes. Enjoy a glass of bubbly with a lunchtime BLT sandwich or deviled eggs for brunch.

8. Pinot Grigio & grilled halibut

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Light seafood dishes benefit greatly with delicate white wines. A common tip for food and wine pairing basics is to match pinot grigio with seafood because of the aromatic and floral tones in the dry white wine.

9. Pinot noir & lamb

food and wine pairing basics

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Typically, this wine has a lighter taste profile compared to other red wines. And it’s because of its freshness that it’s commonly paired with food with earthy or gamey flavours.

Written by

Vinnie Wong