A Guide to Pairing: Introduction

Welcome to our newest series on the blog, A Guide to Pairing!

In this series we’ll cover a number of major varietal wines and popular blends while discussing general – and some specific – pairing suggestions for foods or dishes.

While the majority of folks know to pair Cab with a steak, or a white with fish, there are exceptions to those rules, and that really is just scratching the surface.

What pairs best with wild boar?  Is there a good wine for asparagus?  Is there a great red for a dish based around a garlic cream sauce?

We’ll cover all of these and more.  And what better time to do so?  With the holidays coming up, it’s feasting season, so you may find yourself impressing a few palates with the wine you bring to the dinner table this go around.

To wrap up our brief introduction, we offer our first series, and best overall nuggets of wisdom, on wine pairings in general.  You should really get to know these well:

  1. No two palates are the same.  You will never please everyone, and honestly, such is life.
  2. You will need to think a bit like a chef.  You’re essentially adding the wine to the dish as an additional ingredient.
  3. To the point above, know your wine.  It’s best to have tasted the wine you’re pairing instead of just running on a general rule of thumb for that type of wine pairing.  Remember, a Cab Franc from CA is stylistically 180 degrees from a Loire Cab Franc for example, and thus pair differently.
  4. Don’t forget dessert.  The wine needs to be as sweet as or sweeter than the dish.  A wine drier than a sweet dish is astringent and can ruin what up to that point had been an amazing dining experience.
  5. Compare AND contrast.  While it’s all fine and good to pair a buttery wine with a buttery dish, or a tannic wine with a tannic meat, that is only one side of the coin.  Sometimes you need the wine to do the opposite and be the cleanser between bites, or other times you need it to introduce a whole new flavor set that isn’t in the dish.
  6. Get weird.  Experiment, have fun, fail, learn, and try it again.  At the end of the day, you just get to try more wine, so you’re at no loss really.  The stranger the experiments, the more wild the results, especially when you find something that you never would have thought works.

And with that, away we go with the A Guide to Pairings series!  We hope you enjoy this one as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *