Have you ever wondered how a restaurant decides what wines to recommend with their meals? Believe it or not, there is a simple science behind wine pairing and anyone can become an expert. This may be especially important during the holidays when you are eager to please and are expecting a high volume of guests.
To start, there a few terms you need to know when referring to wine, says Winery Sage:
More tart wines have a higher acid content. For example, a well-balanced acidic white wine is considered crisp.
If a wine is sweet, it is due to the fruit used during fermentation. When a ripened fruit is used, the sugar content is higher in the wine.
Described as how the wine feels in your mouth, tannins may feel like leather or make your mouth feel dry. This “feel” comes from grape skins, seeds and stems.
Making Your Pairing Selection
Once you understand the differences in the taste and feel of wine, you can start to decide which wine you would like to pair with your courses. When making a decision, following a few simple rules will help you choose the best pairing.
- Don’t serve a dish that’s sweeter than the wine. If you do, the wine will taste less sweet and less appealing.
- Choose a wine with high tannins for the meat course. The taste of the meat – especially fatty meats – will contrast and pair well with the high tannin level of the wine.
- Pair bold meals with bold wine – and vice versa. If your meal or dish is exceptionally flavorful, choose a wine bursting with taste, as well. On the converse, if your meal features more subtle flavors, choose a more muted wine taste to match.
- Never mix acidic wines with cream-based sauces. Tart and cream don’t blend well, and can in fact make the cream curdle. You definitely don’t want that from your wine!
While not everyone cooks the same meal during the holidays, there are a few key elements that tend to be the same. Wine Folly offers a great pairing chart for the holidays with suggested wine varieties to match with different meals and desserts.
But, the most important thing to remember when it comes to wine pairings during the holidays? Have fun! Take your time choosing your courses and wines and, if possible, try them yourself before serving your guests.
Before hosting a wine pairing event yourself, it may be helpful to attend one to see how the professionals pair food and wine. The Fullerton Inn offers wine-pairing dinners throughout the year where guests can sample nine creative wine and food pairings offering plenty of opportunity to learn more about the balancing of food and flavors – a great option for a holiday gift for a loved one in your life! Book your stay and enjoy an evening of great wine and fare at the Fullerton Inn. Learn more and make reservations by calling us today at 866-884-8578.