Wine can do amazing things for your meal. A robust red wine that complements the richness of your steak, or a crisp white wine that accentuates the delicacy of your fish are classic examples of truly delicious pairings.
Finding the right wine for your meal can be a complex and intellectually stimulating exercise. But, it doesn’t have to be. There is a simple way to find a great wine for a great meal. Pick a wine you enjoy.
The goal of wine pairing is to enjoy your meal and your drink. A perfectly paired red wine and burger will never work if you really prefer a rosé and Caprese salad.
First Rule in Wine Pairing
That is why the first rule of wine pairing is to make sure you like both the food and the wine you order. Pick up that wine menu and that dinner menu and eliminate the choices you know you do not prefer.
- If you make your selections based on the dishes you know you will enjoy, then, even if the food and the wine do not go together perfectly, you still have a meal you really enjoy.
- Don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons.
- The world of food and wine is an enormous one. Sticking with one pairing is like spending your entire life within one city block. You could be living one town over from the Eiffel Tower and never get to see it.
The Second Rule of Wine Pairing
That is why the second rule of a great wine pairing is to widen your horizons. Experiment a little bit. Expand your palette. Pursue a new culinary experience.
For this, you might need a guide. A more experienced individual might be able to suggest wine pairings you never considered before.
Let Almost Home Be Your Guide
For example, you might be comfortable with your chardonnay and your Tuscan stuffed chicken breast from Almost Home. They make a delicious and reliable combination. Your waiter, however, might suggest pairing a red wine, like pinot noir, with the creaminess of the chicken. Together, they create a flavorful experience that you might miss if you never give the red wine a try.
The good news is that a great wine and a great meal never go wrong, even if you don’t think the pairing is ideal. So embrace new horizons and try something a little different at your next meal.
Create balance with your wine pairings.
Every dish has a certain amount of richness, and every wine has a certain amount of body. You probably know this instinctively. Just compare our roasted red & gold beet salad with our fresh cucumber salad with walnut vinaigrette: Which is heavier, and richer? Compare our beer-battered fish with our chicken salad sandwich. Which has more body?
Take these instinctive understandings of the richness of food to choose wines that create a balanced meal. A bold cabernet sauvignon works better with the robust fish, while a lighter wine like a riesling might pair perfectly with our roasted red & gold beet salad.
The Third Rule of Wine Pairing
The best part of this third rule of a great wine pairing is that you do not have to be a wine connoisseur to make your choice. You just have to use the basic knowledge you already have of the wines you enjoy to pick one that goes with the meal you order.
Of course, if you want to broaden your horizons (And you do!) then you can always ask your server for assistance. Pick a new wine, ask them about its body, and make the leap to try a brand new pairing.
Don’t be afraid to embrace contrasts in your wine pairings.
Some of the most classic pairings use similar flavors to enhance the overall experience of the meal. For example, the combination of chardonnay and Tuscan stuffed chicken breast is a complementary pairing that matches the richness of the Chardonnay with the creaminess of the chicken.
Sometimes complementary isn’t the only way to achieve a simply delicious wine pairing, however. The fourth rule of a great wine pairing is that perfection might just await in a wine that contrasts with your chosen meal.
For example, instead of the chardonnay, you could pair your Tuscan stuffed chicken breast with a dry white wine whose crispness is the opposite of the chicken’s creaminess. The crispness can cleanse the palate and enhance the flavors of both the wine and the chicken, leading to a truly wonderful meal.
Focus on the basic flavors of the meal.
Advanced wine pairings take into account every flavor and texture of every dish in the meal. The fifth rule of simply delicious wine pairings, however, is to focus on the most obvious flavors of the meal.
For example, pulled pork BBQ might have a variety of flavors, but you might want to pair a wine based upon its predominant tanginess. Your salted caramel dessert might have salty undertones, but you would do well to pair it based upon its rich caramel flavor.
When you base your pairings on the predominant flavors of your meal, you can quickly achieve a delicious pairing. Follow your instincts, go based on what you know about your meal, and you will rarely go wrong.
Wine pairings can make for exceptional meals. For a simple way to achieve the delicious combinations of wine and food, try to focus on picking a wine and a dish you enjoy, broaden your horizons, create balance, embrace contrasts, and focus on the basic flavors of the meal.
Here at Almost Home, we love wine pairings. We even have entire events dedicated to pairing gourmet food and fine wines for a delightful dining experience. Come enjoy a meal and a wine from our wide selection of mouth-watering food and high-quality wines. We can even help you find the right pairing for your meal.
No matter what you choose, we know that when you come to Almost Home, you will enjoy a wonderful dining experience. Eat here. Take it home. It is your choice. Just go ahead and spoil yourself. We look forward to seeing you!