You don’t have to be a connoisseur to know which wine goes with what dish. Pairing a dish with wine is largely a matter of personal taste, its purpose is simply to have the flavors of the wine and the dishes compliment each other. There are no strict rules in choosing your wine, but you can have guided choices.
Some of the popular pairings, which you may already be familiar with, is white wine with seafood or chicken and red wine with red meat. With that knowledge you can begin exploring other combinations and develop a more comprehensive understanding of wine and food flavors to sensibly blend them together. To guide you further here are three basic tips:
Learn how to taste wine with food. Begin by knowing the basics of wine tasting. Some of the wine characteristics that you need to be aware of are color, aroma, texture, and flavor. There are certain ways to heighten these characteristics for you to observe such as tilting the glass in order to see the depth of color the wine has from the center to the edge. Another technique is to swirl the wine in the glass to release its aroma.
Once you are familiar with the basics, you can begin tasting your wine with your food. Take a mouthful of wine and roll it on your tongue to get a better taste of its flavor. Remember that you don’t swallow the wine; you need to spit it and then find out if you like the after taste. You then take a small piece of food, chew and swallow it. And then experience the taste of both the food and wine and see if the flavors are pleasing to your palate.
Contrast flavors. It is best to enrich your taste experience by trying a variety of flavors. When you have a good distinction of flavors you will have better pairings. There are four tastes that mix and match in wine and food: saltiness, sweetness, bitterness, acidity, and the Japanese umami. The basic rule in pairing is to contrast flavors in order to compliment them.
Contrasting flavors is done to compliment and balance the tastes you experience as you wine and dine. That doesn’t mean that the two flavors have to be at the opposite ends of the spectrum. They can be on the same end but with varying depth in flavor; for example, a sweet wine is best paired with a dessert that is either more or less sweet. If both the food and wine are of equal strength in flavor, the food will cancel out the wine’s flavor. You can also choose varied flavors, such as a spicy dish to compliment a sweet wine.
Mix and match. For your wedding banquet, you might have already decided on your food menu before you pick out the wine to serve. If not, you can heed some wine experts who would advise on selecting your wine first and then deciding on which dish to serve to best enhance its flavor.
If you are working on a budget, you can research a list of good quality but affordable wines and read reviews of each wine’s quality. This should help you know which wines to purchase to match your dishes. You can also have one of each kind of wine, red and white, and one dessert wine that will compliment the variety of dishes you will serve in your banquet.
Wine and food pairing can be complex but when you remember that you simply do it to please your own taste, then it should be a pleasurable discovery of flavors. Take inspiration from how you and your fiancé complement each other; your food and wine should also be a match made in heaven.
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