Are you planning a meal and confused which foods to pair with your favorite red wine? If yes, you have landed at the right place. I am here to tell you some of my favorite tips and combinations for successful food and wine pairing. Staying open-minded, experimenting, and being flexible are the keys to a fun and fruitful time with a companion, family, or even only you.
Although the overall strategy behind the pairing can be intricate, the ABCs and these tips are simple points to grasp. From a glass to celebrate to a hearty meal, here is the lowdown on how to experience the best food and red wine pairing.
Let’s get started!
Basics of Red Wine
People are very intimated by red wine. Depending on what you choose, the flavors can be dry, peppery, complex, bitter, and many other notes. Red wine can become anyone’s favorite if chosen and paired correctly.
Top 4 Foods that Red Wine Pair Best With
Most people pair red wine with bold flavors because of its stronger taste. As a rule of thumb, the food you choose should be equally bold as the wine. Pairings include:
- Merlot: Match this wine with roasted chicken or turkey.
- Malbec: Serve alongside spiced vegetarian stews and tomato-heavy meat dishes.
- Cabernet Sauvignon: This fuller-bodied wine goes great with red meat and roasted/grilled lamb.
- Pinot Noir: This is a lighter wine and is best paired with seafood, salads, or mushroom flatbread.
Top 5 Tips for Food and Wine Pairing
- Never Mix Bitter and Bitter: If you choose to have bitter food on your plate, then never have a bitter wine. Our taste buds are the most sensitive to bitterness; hence they will get overwhelmed very easily. Wine is more bitter if it has more tannins. For a bitter wine, pair it with a fatty, umami food.
- Pair an Earthy Wine with Earthy Food: While a combination of bitter + bitter is a big NO, a combination of earthy and earthy is a big YES. Old World wines are good with food because of their tart and earthy flavors.
- Keep your Wine Sweeter than your Food: If you pair less-sweet wine with sweeter food, it will taste bitter and tart. Thus, always pair a sweeter wine with your desserts.
- Match the Sauce, If There is Any: This tip is an exception. Mostly food and wine pairing tips are designed in a way to match wine with the meat. But if there is sauce involved, that trumps pairing wine to the meat. The idea behind this is, the meat has either been soaked in the sauce for some time and has taken on the essence of the sauce.
- Champion the Wine: Every wine has different characteristics, so determine the best characteristics of choice. Then, focus on complimenting – not overpowering – those features with your food choices.
Hope this guide was helpful. Let us know which your favorite tip is in the comments below. And if you’re looking to stock your cellar with red wine, visit our online wine shop.
This guest post is by Andrew Christian of Arrow Liquormart.
How long should I decant a quality 2015 Rioja? Could you please suggest a meat pairing?
Hi Frank, like much of the wine experience, decanting is a personal preference. If you’re unsure, taste in increments to find what works for you. Typically, 30-60 minutes is more than enough time to aerate the wine, but some patient people like to decant for a few hours. A wonderful meat pairing would be Spanish-style BBQ Chicken Wings. Try this recipe from of our chef partners, Tori Sellon: https://discover.grasslandbeef.com/blog/chicken-wings-with-spanish-style-bbq-sauce-recipe and let us know what you think.
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