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Three Sisters Winery

Kathryn Alexander
July 26, 2017 | Kathryn Alexander

Food And Wine Pairing For Beginners

Food And Wine Pairing For Beginners

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a highly certified sommelier to learn the basics of wine and food pairing. It might seem like a scary uncharted territory but it's quite easy.

Take the wines you like and the foods you like and voila, food pairing!

For your food pairing to be memorable start with a very versatile wine - one that goes with a wide selection of foods - and things won't go wrong.

Food pairing is mostly based on personal preference, so what tastes good together for you, might not be another person's first choice. Although, if you’re like me, any wine tastes good with all food! Haha

There are a few basic ground rules that most people follow when pairing wine and foods together.  Follow these and you will be a lot closer to food & wine harmony in no time.

  1. Match weight with weight - Light dishes such as raw, fresh, crunchy, low fat and high acidic, are best served with dry light-bodied low alcohol wines.  Heavy foods, including foods with dairy, protein, animal fat, rich sauces, cheese, and so on with full bodied high alcohol wines.
  2. Avoid Tannic wines with fatty and oily fish - It's best to avoid a full body chewy Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon with cod, mackerel, salmon, or any other fish high in omega-3 fatty acid.
  3. Serve salty foods with high acid wines - for an example serve cured meats with Gamay, or Baraba from northern Italy, or anything containing soy sauce would go well with Pinot Grigio wine.
  4. Serve high acid food with high acid wine - For example, goats cheese, tomato based dishes, and salad with vinaigrette would all go well served with dry Riesling or a Sangiovese wine.
  5. Salty, fatty, high protein foods with soft tannic wines - Tannic wines are mouth puckering and astringent. That's why a hearty beef or high protein dish seasoned with salt lightens the astringent sensation when served together.
  6. Serve sweet with sweet - Serve sweet wines with sweet or off sweet foods, such a sweet rose or white wine with dessert. Remember that the wine should always seem as sweet or sweeter than the food.
  7. Versatile whites and bubbly wines - these wines can pretty much be paired with any meal or dish in case you are not sure which wine to purchase for a get-together or to serve to guests. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscadet, Semillon, Chardonnay and most sparkling wines.

Lastly which wines are best served with which cheese. Gotta love those cheese platters! Here is a quick overview of cheese and wine pairing for that fun get together platters.

  • Goats cheese pairs well with light, dry wine like Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Washed Rind cheese pairs well with a full bodied fruity white like Gewurztraminer.
  • Blue-veined cheeses with sweet or fortified wines like Port or icewine.
  • Bloomy rind cheeses best served with wood-aged whites such as oaky barrel -fermented chardonnays.
  • Hard cheeses with full-bodied reds, such as Amarone della Valpolicella or Tempranillo.

Remember that wine and food pairing is a very personal experience and preference that you learn as you try new foods together with wines you like. Trial and error with your own tastes buds can be fun as well. But if you are going to a dinner or holiday get together and want to bring wine for the hostess, choose one of the versatile wines, then you can't go wrong!

For amazing recipes and pairing check out our own recipe list.


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