Wine pairing is an art form that can be explored for years. If you are just starting out, you probably need to be familiar only with the basics. Wine and food pairing is very subjective – it depends a lot on your personal taste. However, having a little wine pairing knowledge is indeed not a bad idea. In this article, we will talk about the basics of food and wine pairing. Plus, a quick guide that will throw light upon the kind of food and cheese you can pair with red, white and sparkling wines.
Everything to help you get started at one place – Let’s begin!
Food & Wine pairing basics
There is an old saying “red with meat and white with fish/poultry.” We are not saying that the rule is old or outdated. But that rule is like a tiny drop in the ocean when it comes to pairing wine and food. The rules can be overwhelming especially for a beginner. So here are some basics to start your journey –
1. The wine should always complement the food and not overpower it. Treat wine like that extra spice which enhances the meal. While the pairings are a matter of personal choice – there are some pairings that work very well with each other. Here are a few tips:
• Acidic foods with acidic wines
• Fatty foods with tannins
• Spicy foods with sweet wines (served cold)
• Salty foods with Champagne or sparkling wines
• Sugary foods and desserts with sweet(er) wines
2. Matching the intensity of the wine and food is a foolproof way of hitting the jackpot. Delicate wines go well with fine meals like salad or roasted vegetables. A deep wine is sure to complement a hearty meal like a creamy pasta. And bold, intense wines work well with intensely rich meals with curries and gravies.
3. Eventually, the golden rule – Drink whatever wine you enjoy drinking with whatever food you have chosen to eat. Drinking wine should always be a beautiful experience – one where there are no judgements.
Now that we have discussed the basics let’s move on to see some classic food pairing. Use this as an inspiration and don’t forget to add your own personal touch.
Cheese & Wine Pairing Ideas
Cheese and Wine are a match made in heaven. Magic happens when they are paired the right way. Here are some classic combinations for Red, White and Sparkling Wines.
Cheese and Red Wine:
1. Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Gouda
2. Port and Bleu Cheese
3. Rioja and Manchego
4. Malbec and Aged Cheddar
5. Pinot Noir and Brie
6. Beaujolais and Feta
7. Merlot and Monterey Jack
Cheese and White Wine:
1. Sauternes and Fondue
2. Chardonnay and Gruyere
3. Riesling and Ricotta
4. Gewürztraminer and Morbier
5. Viognier and Jarlsberg
6. Pinot Grigio and Mozzarella
7. Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese
Cheese and Sparkling Wine:
The sparkling Prosecco and Parmesan go well with each other. Gruyere is another cheese that pairs well with Sparkling Wines.
Indian Food and Wine Pairing Ideas
Indian cuisine is diverse, intense and delicious. There is a vast array of curries, gravies and accompaniments. The flavour profile is very complex; and wines with simple, balanced flavours go very well with the Indian cuisine. It can be a little tricky to pair the wines with Indian food, but the following rules could help. Think of these two points while choosing the wine:
1. What is the base gravy made of? and
2. How spicy is the dish?
Tomato and onion gravy (or) rich red curry base:
Think of dishes like Vindaloo, Aloo Dum, Tikka Masalas, Chicken Curry, Mutton Roganjosh – you get the idea, right? The spice levels of these dishes can be quite high, so it is good to balance it with fruity wines that can be served cold. Red and rose wines work well too as they complement the rich red curry base.
York Winery’s Sparkling Rose, Sparkling Cuvee, Rose; and red wines like Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon can be a great accompaniment.
Think of dishes like Malai Kofta and Goan curries. Recipes with coconut milk like stew and spiced buttermilk and yoghurt-based gravies. The dishes with a creamy base do well with deeper red wines with medium tannin. Deep coloured rosé wines, sparkling rosé, medium-bodied red wines can pair well with creamy Indian dishes.
Green coloured gravies:
Think of dishes like Palak Paneer, Goan green chicken curry, Hariyali chicken and the likes. The dishes are slow cooked with onions, tomatoes and leafy greens. White and Sparkling wines highlight the herbal element in these dishes. Extra-brut sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chenin Blanc are great wines to pair with this flavour profile.
Having said that, we all know Indian cuisine is extremely varied, and no one rule fits all. So, when in doubt, there are a few wines that match exceptionally well with a wide variety of Indian dishes. You really can’t go wrong with these four wines:
1. Sula’s Riesling (Also, India’s first Riesling)
2. Chenin Blanc
3. Sparkling rosé
4. Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon (Red wines)
We’ll let you go now so you can further explore and experiment with food and wine pairing. Though this article is just a drop in the ocean in the world of food & wines, we hope this article served as a good entry point into understanding the beautiful art of food and wine pairing.