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10 Wine Pairing Tips

Think Body

Forget color. When pairing wine with food, body is the first consideration. Body refers to the texture or substance of the wine and the way it feels in your mouth. It often correlates with the alcohol content; heavy-bodied wines tend to have more alcohol. Generally, the darker the color, the fuller the body. A light-bodied wine will feel thinner or lighter in your mouth. Usually, a full-bodied wine will overwhelm a delicately flavored food. A light-bodied wine such as Riesling may taste like water when paired with a steak or roast. On the other hand, you don’t want a medium full-bodied wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or a heavy wine such as port with a delicate fish dish. But Beaujolais, a relatively light-bodied red wine, can match fish well. Rose, an often overlooked wine that's between red and white, also pairs well with seafood.

It may help you to think of wine as another type of food on your menu. You instinctively know that you don’t want to pair potatoes with pasta, and you like mint jelly with lamb. Try to learn which wine helps make a particular meal more enjoyable.

Keep reading for more ways to accomplish that goal.