Whether you’re throwing the perfect dinner party or just trying to experience wine in a new way, pairing great wine with food is an art few people understand. Even though nearly 87% of people have tried alcohol at least once, it can be seemingly impossible to memorize each pairing.
Luckily, there’s an easier way to get the perfect pairing every time. Here are some of the most basic wine tips to make even the amateur enthusiast seem like a Sommelier — at least when it comes to pairing it with the right food. Cultivate these grapes of wisdom to wow at your next dinner.
Basic types of wine
There are three main categories of wine, each with their predominant flavor profiles:
- Red: Red wine is its own category since the color and flavor profiles tend to run parallel. Red wines are more bitter than the other categories, giving them a tannic component many wine-lovers adore. They’re rarely sweet, but often have acidic undertones.
- White, sparkling, rose: These wines are acid-heavy, relying on their dry punch to lure those who love a more alcoholic flavor on the nose.
- Sweet: Sweet wines are, well, sweet. They’re rarely bitter and lean more toward acidity if they veer from their predominantly sweet profile.
When you’re looking for wine online shopping becomes an adventure as you compare and contrast flavor notes and profiles. Just be sure to know the difference between light-bodied wines and full-bodied wines. This label doesn’t speak to the quality of the wine, it simply describes the wine’s texture and flavor. A full-bodied wine will offer more complexity in flavor that lingers on the tongue. Light-bodied wines are more watery, offering a subtle flavor. Medium-bodied wines fall in the middle. All wine categories can incorporate multiple bodies.
Congruence or complements?
By matching aroma compounds or contrasting them through complementary flavors, you will get a more indulgent experience from your wine. For example, take beef and mushroom. These foods are often paired together because of their rich, umami flavoring. These will pair well with another congruent flavor, like an earthy Pinot Noir. On the other end of the spectrum, you might have complementary pairings often seen in acidic wines like rose, white, and sparkling. These can be used to cut through the fatty tones of hard cheeses and offer an entirely new flavor palette. Wine online shopping becomes more fun when you plan meals out beforehand!
Eating something sweet? Go sweeter
A dry wine’s flavor will be stripped if it’s paired with a sweet dessert, leaving nothing but a sharp, sour aftertaste. Even if you’re indulging in something as rich as chocolate, you want to be sure your dessert wine is just as sweet, if not sweeter, than the food at hand. If you’re worried about catering to your crowd, instead serve a more savory dessert like a tart or pie with a lighter wine.
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