How to Pair Wine with Food

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How to Pair Wine with Food

A bottle of Inniskillin Pinot Noir being enjoyed.

Welcome to the wonderful world of wine and food pairing! While there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to pairing, sparkling wine comes close. The key to successful wine and food pairings lies in achieving harmony between the characteristics of the wine and the flavours of the dish. A mismatch can lead to a less-than-ideal experience, like the clash of spicy chiles accentuating the acidity and alcohol taste in a Chardonnay. However, when you strike the right balance – such as pairing a dry or off-dry Riesling with spice – the result is a taste sensation, taking your dining from ordinary to extraordinary. 

Now, let's delve into some golden rules to help you pair wine with food like a pro:

Rule #1: Acidity Matters

When it comes to wine and food pairing, acidity is your best friend. Ideally, the wine you're sipping should boast a higher acidity than the food you're eating. This acidity acts as a palate cleanser, refreshing your taste buds and enhancing the flavours of the dish. 

Rule #2: Tannins & Balance

If savouring a red wine with higher tannins, such as a robust Cabernet Sauvignon or a velvety Merlot, balance is key. Pair these wines with dishes that have fat and acid to counterbalance the wine's bitterness. Think succulent rib-eye steaks, roasted tomatoes bursting with flavour, or buttery, cheesy dishes that melt in your mouth. 

Rule #3: Sauce is the Star

While the main protein on your plate may steal the spotlight, it's the sauce that often takes center stage in wine and food pairing. Before reaching for a bottle, consider the flavours of the sauce and match your wine accordingly. Whether it's a rich, velvety red wine reduction or a zesty citrus-infused vinaigrette, let the sauce guide your wine selection.

Rule #4: Embrace Contrast

Don't shy away from embracing contrast in your pairings. Sometimes, the most unexpected combinations can create moments of pure magic. Consider cooling down a fiery, spicy dish with a white wine with high acidity and a touch of sweetness. The contrast between the heat of the dish and the refreshing qualities of the wine can ignite your taste buds in the best possible way.

Shop Wines to Elevate Your Dining Experiences at Wine Rack 

A selection of VQA ones being served.

Looking to elevate your dining experience with the perfect bottle of wine? Look no further than Wine Rack, your go-to destination for premium wines at an affordable price. Whether you're craving a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to complement your seafood feast or a bold Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany your grilled steak, Wine Rack has you covered. 

At Wine Rack, your neighbourhood wine retailer in Ontario, you have access to an extensive selection of both local favourites and prestigious VQA wines. With both the convenience of in-store and online, you can enjoy an easy-to-find shopping experience. Plus, with certain Wine Rack stores open late and even on long weekends, you can shop around your busy schedule as you check wine off your list. And if you need assistance searching or a wine recommendation, our team of local wine experts is there to guide you every step of the way. 

Knowing the basics of wine and food pairing can take your palate on a journey of discovery with endless possibilities. By following these simple rules and experimenting with different combinations, you'll swiftly uncover the joy of creating harmony between flavour matching that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more. Cheers to good food, great wine, and elevated dining experiences!

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