Know the italians
 
food & wine pairing
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Food & Wine Pairing
 
 
The topic of pairing wine with food has delighted and maddened untold millions for centuries, so have no illusions about finding the perfect answer here. In fact, there is no perfect answer. That is really the point. Mood, ambiance, subtle variations in the ingredients of a dish and the specifics of how a dish is prepared all affect which wine would best be paired with it. And that doesn’t begin to address personal preferences and order effects. The selection of a wine for a certain dish will be influenced by both the food and the wine that came before it, if any.

Before you throw up your hands in despair and just reach for the rosé (It goes with everything, doesn’t it?), consider that there are some guidelines that have stood the test of time. They come from various sources. But consider also that they are only suggestions. Don’t be a slave to the “experts.” Experiment! You may come up with your own personal favorite combinations.

Some rules worth following

The heartier (richer, more flavorful) the meal, the heartier (full-bodied, full-flavored) the wine. Neither the wine nor the food should overpower. You want to taste BOTH!
 
Match the wine with the sauce more than anything else. (Tomato sauce would overwhelm most white wines and even many light reds!)
 
The wines of a region often go best with the cuisine of that region.
Be careful with complex food flavors and mature, complex wines. It’s safer to pair complex dishes with a fruity, relatively straightforward, and even one-dimensional Cabernet rather than mature Bordeaux with its panoply of aromas and flavors. Use simpler dishes (such as lasagna) to show off mature red wines. Either the food or the wine can be complex, usually not both!
 
 
Pinot Noir (also red Burgundies) and Sauvignon Blanc (also Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, and white Bordeaux) are the most versatile varietals. They go with a wider range of foods than most other varietals. If in doubt....White wine tastes sweeter with artichokes and asparagus. Thus, bone-dry, herbal Sauvignon Blanc works best with them.
 
 
Red wine tannins are softened by dishes that contain certain ingredients, such as cracked black pepper. Pepper also fleshes out and improves young, fruity reds.
 
A modest amount of tannin behaves like acidity to cleanse the palate. Obviously, a wine that is very tannic should be aged several years before opening.
 
Salty foods go well with sweeter wines which counteract the salt to achieve balance in the mouth.
Spicy foods go best with light weight, low-alcohol, semisweet wines such as German wines or spicy wines such as Alsatian. Alcohol fans the flames; sugar douses them.
 
High-acid foods (including those with citrus or tomato) need high-acid wines (Italian wines generally work well). Wines with low acid appear flaccid with acidic foods.
 
Subtly flavored foods need subtle, older wines that have lost their youthful exuberance, like mature riesling or Bordeaux.
 
Champagne does go well with fried and salty food, salty nuts, Parmigiano Cheese, soups, salads, breads(selective ones) etc
 

Some Specifics

Light Appetizers : Canapés (bread topped with spreads, like cheese, paté, etc.) match well with crisp light dry white wines like Muscadet, light Italian and German whites, Champagne, or Pro-secco. Salty or fried appetizers work best with fruity German whites, dry sherry, or Champagne

Heavier Appetizers : such as antipasto (olives, prosciutto and cheeses) are salty and need a bright, fruity wine (Chenin Blanc, Riesling or dry Sherry). Reds include Beaujolais, Pinot Noir and fruity Spanish reds. Rich, oily and salty Spanish tapas work well with sparkling wine (Cava), Albariño, or Manzanilla sherry.



Pairing Wine with Vegetarian Food

Vegetarian Food   Wine
 
Pasticcio, lasagna, & cannelloni-elaborate vegetarian
fillings and sauces
  Fine Tuscan, also Claret and Burgundy. Gavi & Italian
vintage Tunina also good.
Bean and vegetable stew, herb dumpling   Bairrada (Portugal) or Spanish Toro
Cheese cauliflower with aux gratin topping   Sancerre, Riesling Spatlese, Syval Blanc or Schonburger
Couscous with spicy vegetables   Shiraz, chilled Navarrian Rose, or Somontano
Grilled Mediterranean vegetables   Cabernet-Shiraz, Brouilly, or Barbera
Kidney beans and roasted vegetables   California Merlot, Red Rioja Reserve, or Bandol
Aubergine, lentils, or baked mushrooms   Zinfandel, Corbieres, or Shiraz-Cab.
Mezze vegetable dishes   Languedoc Rose or Provence
Mushroom risotto   Chianti Rufina, Ribera del Duero, or Barolo
Onions and leeks   Riesling, Alsace Pinot Grijio, or Gewurztraminer
Peppers & eggplant   Chianti, Nemea, Zinfandel, Bandol, Dolcetto
Squash ravioli   Viognier, Vouvray, Marsanne, Gavi, Pomino, or Chenin Blanc
Ratatouille   Cabernet or Merlot, red Bordeaux, Corteaux du Languedoc
Spinach ricotta   Valpolicella, Greco di Molise



Pairing Wine with Desserts

Desserts   Wine
 
Apple pie   Any sweet Australian, German, Loire, or Canadian wine
Chocolate cake   Bairrada (Portugal) or Spanish Toro
Cheese cauliflower with aux gratin topping   Sancerre, Riesling Spatlese, Syval Blanc or Schonburger
Couscous with spicy vegetables   Shiraz, chilled Navarrian Rose, or Somontano
Grilled Mediterranean vegetables   Cabernet-Shiraz, Brouilly, or Barbera
Kidney beans and roasted vegetables   California Merlot, Red Rioja Reserve, or Bandol
Aubergine, lentils, or baked mushrooms   Zinfandel, Corbieres, or Shiraz-Cab.
Mezze vegetable dishes   Languedoc Rose or Provence
Mushroom risotto   Chianti Rufina, Ribera del Duero, or Barolo
Onions and leeks   Riesling, Alsace Pinot Grijio, or Gewurztraminer
Peppers & eggplant   Chianti, Nemea, Zinfandel, Bandol, Dolcetto
Squash ravioli   Viognier, Vouvray, Marsanne, Gavi, Pomino, or Chenin
Blanc
Ratatouille   Cabernet or Merlot, red Bordeaux, Corteaux du
Languedoc
Spinach ricotta   Valpolicella, Greco di Molise



Pairing Wine with Cheese

Cheese   Wine
 
Blue cheese (old) Marsala (old   Sauternes, Stilton, Port (tawny), Madeira (old),
Amontillado
Bougon   Dry white Burgundy, Rhone, Saint Emilion
Brie   Pinot, Rhone, Shiraz
Camembert   European Pinot, Syrah
Chaource Cheddar, Parmesan   Rhone, Burgundy, Cabernet Sav., Shiraz
Cream cheese   Cotes de Duras, Gergerac, Vinho Verde
Livarot   Bordeaux, Chardonnay, Alsace Pinot, Riesling
Mozzarella   Rhone, red Bordeaux, Bardolino, or Beaujolais
Reblochon   Rioja, Oloroso Sherry