Wine and Food Pairing
There is one rule that is essential to wine and food pairing - there are no rules! Experiment and enjoy yourself. However, a little knowledge does help make the choice a little easier.
Consider these three elements of a wine's character when making a selection to accompany your meal. First, taste the wine to determine its flavour and then try to pair it with similar tastes in your meal. Or if you are very daring, go for a contrast of flavours.
Secondly, the stronger the intensity of flavour of the wine, the stronger the food should be. An ideal match is one where neither the food nor the wine overpowers the other.
Thirdly, the texture plays an important role. You may choose o select similar textures or contrast them with your meal. A full-bodied smooth red with a long finish pairs well with a richly flavoured stew. Alternatively, a light, refreshing chilled white pairs well with a delicately seasoned seafood platter.
WHITE WINE SUGGESTIONS
In its stronger form, goes well with strong herb dishes. In its softer form versions, luxurious cream and butter sauces as well as mellow earthy flavours such as mustard and mushroom are wonderful matches. It is very complimentary served with poultry, seafood such as shrimp or scallops and with grilled vegetables. It is also excellent served with many cheeses including tripe cream brie, oka and swiss.
With its dry grassy, herbal and citrus notes, goes well with white-fleshed fish, oysters, poultry or veal. It is one of the few wines that can be paired with asparagus as well as with artichoke. In its fruity sweeter form it pairs well with lobster or light desserts.
Sometimes called "the poor man's chardonnay" has a remarkable strength of character and provides a rich, subtle background for any dish. Try it with British Columbia salmon, shrimp, antipasto and poultry. It is also delicious served with soft rind cheeses as an appetizer.
With a wonderful balance of fruit and acidity, works well with dishes having sweet and tart components. The stronger fruitier versions go well with barbequed or smoked foods and a variety of fruity and subtle spicy flavours. Try it with Thai, Indian or other Asian dishes. This is a perfect wine to serve chilled on a hot summer's night as a refreshing sipper just on its own.
With its intense exotic aromas and flavours is ideally suited to spicy dishes from Asia and the strong barbeque and smoke flavours of North America. It can be paired well with many cheeses including soft rind blue cheese. It is also very enjoyable served just by itself.
RED WINE SUGGESTIONS
With its generous tannins, is the classic accompaniment for rack of lamb. It stands up beautifully to all red meats including many game meats whether served "au jus" or with richly flavoured herb and garlic sauces. Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with strong cheeses such as parmesan and blue.
Especially suited for red meats. With its smooth and mellow tannins, Merlot is less asssertive than Cabernet Sauvignon. From wine braised stews and roasts to rare-grilled prime cuts, Merlot has the weight and fruit to match. It is also very complimentary served with full-flavoured pork and poultry dishes including duck. It pairs well with aged cheeses including cheddar.
Pairs beautifully with almost any meal because of its subtle, supple qualities. However, its gentle fruit can be overwhelmed by strong or spicy flavours. Pinot Noir is a perfect match for British Columbia Salmon, grilled tuna and game hen. It can also be served with cheeses such as goats milk feta.