Matching food and wine is like Dancing with the Stars. Each partner affects the performance of the other. Sometimes, as when Derek Hough dances with…anyone, they can transform a simple dance into a moment of magic. Other times, like Kirstie Alley and her dance partner Maksim, they fall down on the job. But no matter. Even a misstep is fun to watch.
And so it is with food and wine pairings. Wine affects the food it’s drunk with, and food alters the taste of the wine. But even when it’s not a match made in heaven, it’s not likely to ruin the meal.
While there are no absolutes in wine-food matchups, we do have some guidelines for partnering wine with your favorite dish.
Neither partner should dominate
Intensely flavored food requires intensely flavored wine. Heavy dishes need a full-bodied wine. And delicate foods deserve lighter wines.
Preparation should set the stage
Consider how the food is prepared. Chicken piccata with its lemon and butter sauce needs a lighter wine than a robust chicken cacciatore with tomatoes and Italian spices.
Natural attractions should be observed
Food with an underlying sweetness – like teriyaki marinade or honey glaze – go well with slightly sweet, or off-dry, wines such as Chenin Blanc and Riesling. Ditto with high-acid food and wines. Lemon dressings are attracted to Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir.
Wine and cheese – the winning partnership
When paired up, wine and cheese bring out the best in each other. There are an infinite number of wines and cheeses available to rehearse with.
Pour a glass of your favorite wine and slice a piece of any cheese…and enjoy the dance.
Barbara and Beverly