10 Wine Pairing Tips


1
There Are No Rules
When in doubt, just go with a wine you enjoy.
When in doubt, just go with a wine you enjoy.
Gio Barto/Getty Images

The most important thing to remember when pairing wine with food is that there are no absolute rules. Matching food and wine is not some sort of test you have to pass. After all, who are you trying to please? Yourself, for the most part.

Sure, if you're choosing the wine for a group or event, you'll probably want to go with a conventional, safe selection that won't shock anyone's palate. In such cases, it's good to consult a wine merchant, book or Web site.

But if you’re choosing for yourself and maybe a few people to whom you’re close, go with what you like. If you’re tried Pinot Noir with lobster and thought it was great, go for it. If you like rose with your pasta, don’t let someone tell you that’s an inferior choice. If you’re afraid of making an embarrassing mistake, consider this: Surveys show that California Chardonnay is the biggest selling domestic wine. But connoisseurs think Chardonnay doesn't pair well with most foods [source: Orlin]. From their perspective, it sounds like a lot of people are making pairing mistakes.

Just remember that wine and food pairing pointers are just that: tips, hints and some basic information that might help you make good choices if you don't know which wine you want with a particular meal. The whole point of taking time to savor good food with good wine is enjoyment. These tips might enhance your gustatory pleasure, but don't be intimidated by strict rules.

Raise a glass and toast good times!

Related Articles

Sources

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  • Beeradvocate. Beer & Food Pairing Guide. “Beer first, food second.” (Accessed July 10, 2011) http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style_pairings
  • Beer Travelers. "Body -- wine tasting term." (Accessed July 8, 2011) http://www.beertravelers.com/lists/pairings.html
  • Food and Wine Pairing. "Food and Wine Pairing Guidelines." (Accessed July 4, 2011) http://www.foodandwinepairing.org/rules.html
  • Gallo. "Food and Wine Pairing Tool." (Accessed July 4, 2011) http://gallo.com/food-pairings/Food&WinePairingTool.html
  • Gallo. "Food and Wine Pairing Tool." (Accessed July 4, 2011) http://gallo.com/food-pairings/Food&WinePairingTool.html
  • Gaiter, Dorothy J. and John Brecher. "A Dinner Table Where Wines Meet Their Match." The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2007. (Accessed July 5, 2011) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118428924758465447.html
  • Gaiter, Dorothy J. and John Brecher. "Advice on Wine-Food Pairings." The Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2009. (Accessed July 5, 2011)
  • Grumdahl, Dara Moskowitz. Drink This: Wine Made Simple. Ballantine Books. New York, 2009.
  • Hammond, Carolyn. 1000 Best Wine Secrets. Sourcebooks, Inc. Naperville, Ill. 2006.
  • LeDraoulec, Pascale. "Ten Perfect Food & Wine Pairings." Forbes.com, March 4, 2008. (Accessed July 7, 2011)
  • McCarthy, Ed, Mary Ewing-Mulligan, Maryann Egar, Tony Aspler and Barbara Leslie. Wine All-in-One for Dummies. Wiley. Hoboken, N.J., 2009.
  • Orlin, Mary. "Yes, Wine Food Pairings Often Hocus Pocus." The Wine Fashionista. Huffington Post. April 4, 2011. (Accessed July 9, 2011) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-orlin/yes-wine-food-pairings-of_b_844419.html
  • Sergent, Jennifer. "Food and Champagne: The Perfect Match." HGTV Start at Home. (Accessed July 5, 2011)
  • Tastings.com. "Beer and Food Pairing." (Accessed July 9, 2011) http://tastings.com/beer/beer_and_food.html
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  • What's Cooking America? "Cooking with wine -- how to cook with wine." (Accessed July 10, 2011) http://whatscookingamerica.net/WineInCooking.htm
  • Wine Intro. "Body -- Wine Tasting Term." (Accessed July 9, 2011) http://wineintro.com/glossary/b/body.html
  • Wine Country Network. “Wine 101: Food & Wine Pairing Tips.” (Accessed July 4, 2011) http://www.winecountrynetwork.com/articlewineparingtips.html
  • Wines of Germany. "Food and Wine Pairing." (Accessed July 5, 2011) http://www.germanwineusa.com/german-wine-101/food-wine-pairings.html

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