Pairing wine with food can seem complicated at first, but there are a few simple rules that will help you make a good choice every time. Whether you are a complete beginner or have developed tastes, these tips will keep you on the right track.
First, if you are totally unfamiliar with wine, follow a simple color rule. Red wines tend to pair better with richer, heavier foods while whites pair better with lighter foods. Having steak or fettuccine alfredo? Try a red. Having fish or a vegetable dish? Try a white.
If you know a bit more than color, you have a chance to get even deeper into a good pairing. Are there one or two types of wine you especially like? If so, learn what those go with. Here is a very general list:
● Pinot Noir goes well with earthy flavors, like mushrooms
● Chardonnay is good with rich fish dishes
● Cabernet Sauvignon pairs great with red meats
● Sauvignon Blanc goes nicely with bright or lemony sauces
● Rose pairs with cheesy food
● Pinot Grigio complements light fish
● Malbec works with even the boldest sauces
You don’t need to memorize the whole list! Just find your favorites and remember what you can order to complement your wine.
If you are looking for dessert wines, the key is to choose a wine that is sweeter than your dessert. If you have a relatively dry wine, go for bitter chocolate or a cheese plate for dessert. If you are having something sweeter, try a moscato if you like bubbles or a port.
If cooking is your thing, you can explore wine and food more in depth in the kitchen. Try a wine-oriented cooking class. Or, if you’re in the area, try our personal chef service – we can help create the meals you want with the wine you like best.
Picking a wine is not a test. If you feel unsure, ask! Sommeliers and chefs love to share their knowledge. If you tell them what you like and what you are eating, they will make suggestions that are in your price range and that match your preferences. A good sommelier or caterer will not try to intimidate you or make you feel stupid; they really want to help. We offer Jersey Shore catering in the New Jersey area, and would be happy to discuss the right wines to offer with your menu.
What matters most, though, is your taste. If you love Cabernet, you should drink it with whatever you like – steak, pizza, chocolate cake, or a light salad. The goal of pairing wine with food is to create an enjoyable experience, and if you love a combination, there is nothing wrong about it.