Nothing can improve a meal like the perfect glass of wine. But how do you know which wine goes with which dish? Could a Cabernet Sauvignon mix well with salmon? Will a Sauvignon Blanc match the complexity of a spicy dish?
Wine pairing may seem like a mystery for many. Let Cork break it down for you.
Why Do Certain Wines Pair Better with Certain Foods?
It all has to do with the flavors and structure of each wine. For example, salmon does not pair well with a dense red wine because the fattiness of the fish does not mesh well with the tannin in the wine. Since the two cancel each other out, it can bring out all the negative tastes of each component. So after drinking a glass of bold red wine, instead of having a pleasing palette, a fishy flavor remains in your mouth. And no one wants that!
However, if you take a white wine with a high acidity level, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, it clears away that fish flavor, leaving a clean taste in your mouth. Perfect!
White Wines and Lighter Foods
When you’re having a lighter dish – such as fish or a simple salad – a bottle of white will pair nicely. Here are a few ideas to pair with your dry and sweet whites:
- A dry, light white wine, such as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Vermentino, pairs well with herby, spicy food. It also pairs well with beans and peas as well as dark, leafy greens such as kale. For meat, stuck with a mild flavored fish like cod, trout, or bass.
- A rich, slightly sweet white wine like Chardonnay or Sémillon works well with mushrooms, soft cheeses, lobster or shellfish, and poultry.
- With a sweet Moscato or Riesling, you want to stick with starchy food and sweet flavors like caramel and fruit. A cured meat like prosciutto or bacon also plays well with a sweet white.
- You know what goes well with any food? Champagne or any sparkling wine — especially cheeses, oysters, mussels, and clams.
Red Wines and Darker Flavors
If you’re in the mood for rich, meaty flavors, a glass of red wine will undoubtedly hit the spot! But what type of red wine? Here are a few examples:
- If you’re choosing a lighter Pinot Noir or Grenache, you want to stick with spicy, aromatic, and exotic flavors. You also want to stick with earthy mushrooms, favorable onions and garlic, soft cheeses, and poultry dishes.
- In the mood for Merlot or a Cab Franc? Pork is the way to go! You also want a pungent cheese, an earthy veggie, or something with a little kick.
- And finally, beef is the best meat to pair with a nice Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. A hard cheese or black peppery dish would pair well with a bold red.
Rosé and Dessert Wines
If you’re in the mood for a good rosé, you want to stick with starchy foods, earthy herbs, and dairy of all types. Rosés are particularly excellent pairing buddy with root vegetables like carrots and pumpkins, as well as squash of all kinds.
As for a dessert wine, such as a Port or Sherry, you want to grab your favorite chocolate treat, especially if there’s a touch of cinnamon, clove, or allspice in that dish!
Cork Can Help Choose Your Wine!
Are you still confused about wine pairing? Don’t worry, the servers at Cork can give you the best wine to go with your meal. Reserve a table today!
And if you want to learn more about wine pairing, don’t forget to check out our ongoing Winter Wine Series. You won’t regret it!