How Does One Choose Wine When Eating A Particular Food Item?

How does one choose wine when eating a particular food item? One of the ways that I find easiest is to try to find foods that either were grown or naturally appear in the same area that the wine is from.

There are several different methods you can explore for determining which wine to serve.

Dave Cedrone, a wine consultant who offers private tasting, basic wine education, etiquette classes, and buying services for the restaurant industry, suggests a few options.


"One of the ways that I find easiest is to try to find foods that either were grown or naturally appear in the same area that the wine is from. For example, Italian wines go well with Italian foods because the relative acidity that occurs in the food also occurs in the wine. If you want to be really specific about it, say you are making a dish that originated in the north of Italy, you might look for a Italian wine that is from any of the Northern regions and you will automatically get a good match."

So for a scientific approach, be sure to learn about the origins of the meal that you are about to enjoy before making your final wine decision.

Cedrone also suggests focusing on the taste of the food.
"Other things to look for are contrasting flavors or matching flavors. If you have a sweet dessert you might want to pair that with a less sweet wine, because you don't want to overpower things. If you have a spicy Asian dish, a lot of times a really great match for that is a sweet white wine, a Riesling or any white wine that is sweet. Sometimes the label will say 'half dry,' which generally means that the wine has not been fermented to total dryness, that some of the sugars were left behind and not converted to alcohol, which keeps the wine sweet. If you have a hot or spicy dish, it will be balanced or offset by the sweet flavors of the white wine."




Your best bet when using this method of pairing is to experiment. You'll never know what you like until you try a few different varieties. A good way to start would be to prepare or order a dish that you've tried before, so you know what to expect from the flavors in the food. This way, you can focus on your wine palate and truly appreciate the tastes that emerge.

There are also some more basic guidelines you may want to follow when choosing your pairings, Cedrone says.
"Big flavorful foods are good matches for big flavorful wines. A lot of this is fairly obvious, but some people don't know it naturally. If you have a rich flavorful steak dinner with heavy, spicy sides you will certainly not want to choose a light, super easy drinking Merlot because you won't even taste the wine. The food will overpower the light-bodied wine. You might consider choosing a big flavorful Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, or Merlot."

Of course, if you are in a restaurant setting, don't be shy about asking the advice of your server. Most establishments feature knowledgeable staff that can make educated recommendations to their patrons, or consult their chef or manager if they're not sure.

The same philosophy applies to fine grocers and wine stores,if they sell wine, there are usually experts available on site to answer questions and offer suggestions for food pairings.

When you discover that you've found the perfect wines for your favorite meals, it may be helpful to keep a small journal of your preferences, including the type, brand and year of the wine. That way if you want to revisit them in the future, you'll have a record of what you like.

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