Wondering which wines to pair with whatever’s on the menu? Matt Anderson and Elizabeth Samolin of Bin 604 Wine Sellers at 604 S. Exeter St. in Harbor East break it down for you here.
For those of us who aren’t wine connoisseurs, decisions about which wines to pair with which foods can feel somewhat overwhelming. But they needn’t be. A bad pairing is harder to come by than you may think. As famed sommelier (wine steward) Joe Catterson once said, “For every dish, there is probably one perfect wine — but for most of us, life is too short to have to figure out what it is.”
That’s not to say you should throw the rulebook out the window. But remember, there are many ways to arrive at the same result — a food and wine pairing that will make your holiday meal a sublime dining experience.
Here are some considerations:
- Keep It Balanced
Consider the flavors of your dish and how they interact with each other. If it helps, think musically. When you’re listening to your favorite band, tune in to how the vocals and instruments are balanced. You don’t want to have a fastidiously prepared meal, full of nuance and delicate flavors overshadowed by a wine that is blaring its flavors at full volume.
- Match Weight And Intensity
Select light-bodied wines to pair with lighter food, and fuller-bodied wines to go with heartier, more flavorful, rich and fattier dishes. For example, pair a simple, lightly dressed shrimp dish with a crisp clean sauvignon blanc; A grilled lamb chop with a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. These pairings work because they complement each other.
- Match Flavors
Some food and wine pairings work well because their flavors match. An earthy pinot noir goes well with mushroom soup. The grapefruit/citrus taste of a sauvignon blanc goes with delicate flaky white fish for the same reasons that lemon does.
- Opposites Attract
Well, sometimes. Some food and wine pairings work well because their flavors contrast. Very spicy dishes — think hot curries — often work best with sweet wines. Dishes with lobster or creamy sauces pair well with sparkling wine. Contrasting styles help elevate the flavors of both the wine and the food.
- Be Bold
Don’t be afraid to mix and match or make unconventional decisions. The more you explore; the more natural pairings will become. The best pairings create harmony and keep you craving another bite, then another sip.
Taste and keep tasting but keep in mind that the choices we make surrounding food and wine should result in enjoyment and pleasure shared with family, friends and loved ones.
Bin 604 will host Binology 102: A Guide to Wine and Food Pairing, Thanksgiving Edition on Nov. 17 from 2-3:30 p.m. For more information, visit bin604.com.