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Which Wine Goes With....

Many of the common questions we get asked start with the same four words..."Which wine goes with..."

Wine pairings are a tricky thing to get right.

Many people will drink the same wine whatever they are eating, and there is nothing wrong with that. But when you are looking for the perfect wine to pair with the perfect dish, an understanding of wine pairings can make all the difference.

This is especially true if you are entertaining guests. A wine that pairs well with the meal can make the experience much more enjoyable for everyone.

So, which wine goes best with which food?

The answer, unfortunately, is not always simple. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing wine with food, but there are a variety of guidelines.

The first step is to understand the basics of how to pair wine with food.

Wine Pairing Basics: Two different types of wine pairings

Congruent Wine Pairing

A congruent wine pairing is when common flavours in the wine and the food help to enhance each other. The key to making a congruent pairing is to find a wine that has similar flavours to the dish you are serving.

For example, a Sauvignon Blanc with citrus flavours would pair well with a dish that also has citrus flavours, or a dish with mushrooms and truffles would pair well with a Burgundy wine because both the dish and the wine have earthy flavours.

Contrasting Wine Pairing

A contrasting wine pairing is when the flavours in the wine and the food are opposite of each other. The idea behind a contrasting pairing is that the different flavours will help to balance each other out.

For example, a dish with rich, creamy sauce would pair well with a wine that has high acidity, like a Sauvignon Blanc. The acidity in the wine will help to cut through the richness of the dish.

Common Guidelines To Follow For Food And Wine Pairing

There are a number of common guidelines for pairing wine with food, that are widely shared

  • The wine should have a higher acidity than the dish served with it.
  • The wine should be sweeter than the dish served with it.
  • The flavour intensity of the wine should be similar to that of the dish it is paired with.

There are also some common rules of thumb about the pairings of red wine and white wine:  

  • Strongly flavoured foods and red wines go best together.
  • Light meats and light cheeses go best with white wines.

Choosing Wine To Pair With Different Flavours

Salty Food

Pairing wine with salty foods can be tricky because the salt can have quite an impact on the taste of a wine. You want to find a wine that has enough acidity to balance out the saltiness of the dish.

Spicy Food

When pairing wine with spicy foods, it is important to find a wine that can stand up to the heat. A wine with high acidity or sweetness can help to balance out the spiciness of the dish.

Acidic Food (Like Salad Dressings)

When you're looking to pair a wine with a food that is high in acidity, it's worth referring to the first of the common guidelines - the acidity of the wine should be higher than that of the food, or the wine might taste a little flat and bland.

Bitter Food

When pairing wine with bitter foods, you should always aim for a contrasting pairing - ideally something acidic or sweet. If you paired a bitter wine with bitter tasting foods, it is likely to enhance the overall bitterness and it may be a little overwhelming!

Sweet Food

Pairing wine with sweet food can be tricky - if the wine is too sweet it will make the dish seem even sweeter, but if the wine is not sweet enough it may taste a little flat. You want to find a balance between the two, and semi-sweet wines or dessert wines are usually a good option.

Have you got any more advice on specific wine pairings?

Yes! We have taken a list of some of the most discussed wine pairings and come up with our own guidance as to which wine you should choose for each dish.

If you think we have missed one then please let us know and we can get something written up for you.

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What is the best wine to go with Cheese?

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