No fine dining experience is ever complete until you have the perfect wine paired up with your gourmet main course. Usually, the waiter can make suggestions you can benefit from, but you may also end up spending too much money on the most expensive bottle of wine the establishment offers. It’s much more sensible to ask for the wine list and pick out a suitable vintage yourself. Here are 7 food and wine pairings you can’t go wrong with.
Mild Fish and Pinot Grigio
This is perhaps one of the most underappreciated pairings in the culinary world. In order to ensure that the flavour of the fish is not overpowered, a mild sauce or garnish is usually the norm when cooking something like salmon or bass. The wine not only has to compliment the flavour of the fish and the sauce, but also has to ensure it doesn’t overpower the taste-buds. This makes Pinot Grigio the perfect white wine for fish and dishes that contain mild fish sauces.
Tart Sauces and Sauvignon Blanc
A tart dish can be particularly difficult to pair with a wine thanks to all the complex flavours a tart sauce can offer. There are a few wines that can pair nicely with tart dishes, but unless you are a sommelier, the chances of finding the right wine are pretty slim. Usually, a Sauvignon Blanc does the job quite well. Not only will it not clash with the flavours, but a Sauvignon Blanc will act as a micro pallet cleanser, ensuring that you get a full burst of flavour with every mouthful.
Spicy Dishes and Dry Riesling
If you love spicy food, you know that finding the right beverage can be quite a challenge. What can you do if you go to a fine dining Thai restaurant and beer really isn’t on the cards? Reach for the best bottle of Dry Riesling the establishment offers. Although a dry Riesling can work very well with any spicy dish, it is particularly prized for the way it balances the heat in Thai cuisine, without altering the flavours. Whether a spicy or savoury dish has a rich sauce or is cooked dry, a dry Riesling is the perfect companion.
Talk about barbecue and there is no shortage of people inundating you with their recommendation of which beer would go best with which kind of sauce or rub. However, have you ever seriously considered pairing a barbecued chicken leg with a glass of fine wine? It’s not that absurd really. Wine is at its best when paired with the right food and barbecue works best for Malbec. Whether you opt for a sweet barbecue sauce or a Cajun rub, the smoky flavours from a piece of barbecue really compliment a Malbec very well.
The Italians love their wine; the Chianti flows alongside bowls of pasta and heaps of garlic bread. However, despite its versatility, Chianti isn’t the best match for one of the staples of Italian cuisine: pizza. The combination of the dough, mozzarella cheese
and various toppings lends pizza a unique favour that Chianti doesn’t do justice to. However, on the other hand, Pinot Noir is the perfect accompaniment for any pizza, irrespective of whether it has vegetable or meat toppings.
Steaks and Cabernet Sauvignon
While barbecue may be a surprise for some, no one doubts the fact that steak and wine is a match made in heaven. Based upon the type of cut and how well done the meat is, your palette may prefer a certain type of wine over the other. But, if you don’t know much about wine, Cabernet Sauvignon is easily the best option at your disposal. Not only does it complement a steak quite well, any good fine dining restaurant will have a wide range of Cabernet Sauvignons
for you to choose from.
Rich Sauces and Chardonnay
At this point, you must be wondering what happened to good old Chardonnay. If it is Chardonnay you prefer, don’t worry about a thing. Chardonnay can go with a variety of dishes, across cuisines, and still come out trumps. However, it is found that a good Chardonnay works best with dishes that have a rich sauce component. Ideally though, you want to keep Chardonnays away from fish and any other meat that is mildly dressed or sauced.
Armed with the knowledge of these 7 food and wine pairings, you will never be intimidated by a wine list ever again.
The author of this post, Vikram Shenoy, is a freelance blogger who often writes for Botanical. He likes to write about lifestyle, home improvement, music and more. You can also follow him on twitter @ShenoyTrivikram