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Food & Wine Pairings

The pairing of wine and food has undergone some revision in the past few years. Many people mistakenly believe that they will ruin the whole meal if they make the "wrong" wine choice. The good news is that it's impossible to ruin a good meal if you select a wine that you enjoy, regardless of what the "wine experts" say. Remember, follow your own tastes and don't be afraid to experiment. That being said, there are some general guidelines you may find helpful when selecting a wine to enhance your meal.

Select light-bodied wines to pair with lighter food, and fuller-bodied wines to go with heartier, more flavorful dishes. Otherwise a full-bodied, heavier wine will overpower a light, delicate dish, and similarly, a lighter style wine will not even register on your personal flavor meter if you sip it with a hearty roast.

For every food action, there is a wine reaction. When you drink wine by itself it tastes one way, but when you combine it with a bite of food, the taste changes. This is because wine is like a spice. Elements in the wine interact with the food to provide a different taste sensation like these basic reactions:

Sweet foods like Italian tomato sauce, Japanese teriyaki, and honey-mustard glazes make your wine seem drier than it really is, so try an off-dry (slightly sweet) wine to balance the flavor (Chenin Blanc, White Zinfandel, Riesling).

High acid foods like salads with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, soy sauce, or fish served with a squeeze of lemon go well with wines higher in acid (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Noir).

Bitter and astringent foods like a salad of bitter greens, Greek kalamata olives and charbroiled meats accentuate a wine's bitterness, so complement these with a full-flavored, forward, fruity wine (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot).

Big tannic red wines (like many red Zinfandels, and Shiraz or Syrah wines) will go best with your classic grilled steak or lamb chops, as the fat in the meat will tone down the tannin in the wine.

Petite Sirah Seafood: Trout, Red Snapper
Poultry: Turkey, Game Hens
Meat: Beef, Pork Chops
Cheese: Sharp Chedder, Chevre
Herbs: Mint, Thyme
Chardonnay Seafood: Crab, Shrimp, Salmon
Poultry: Chicken, Turkey, Duck
Meat: Veal, Pork
Cheese: Brie, Gouda, Parmesan
Herbs: Basil, Thyme, Saffron
Cabernet Sauvignon

Seafood: Cioppino
Poultry: Chicken, Goose, Pheasant
Meat: Pork, Cured Ham, Ribs
Cheese: Camembert, Sharp, Chedder, Bleu
Herbs: Rosemary, Tarragon, Spearmint






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