Wine and food have complemented each other for thousands of years. Wine comes into its own at the dinner table thanks to its moderate alcohol, refreshing acidity, and sheer range of flavours. It is worth knowing some successful pairings of food and wine that have stood the test of time.
Whether selecting a bottle to accompany a take-away, or choosing different wines for each course at a dinner party, there are a number of basic guidelines
- Decide on the dominant taste and choose a wine to accompany it.
- Select a wine to match the weight and power of your food. Full-flavoured foods require full-flavoured, full-bodied wines. Delicate dishes are overpowered by heavily oaked or tannic styles, so they require light wines. Full-bodied whites have similar power and weight to lighter reds, so work equally well with dishes such as grilled tuna or roast turkey.
- Sweet food should be matched by a similarly sweet wine. Many Thai dishes, for example, contain a lot of sugar, which is why off-dry styles such as Gewürztraminer work so well.
- Tannins in a red wine taste softer when drunk with red meat. This is why classic combinations like beef with red Bordeaux are so effective.
- The more complicated the flavours in a dish, the more difficult it is to find a wine to pair with it, though some wines do work well with a range of flavours.
- If serving top-quality wine, simply prepared dishes using the finest ingredients allow the wine to take centre stage.
- Try to match regional dishes with the same region's wines.