If you’ve ever taken music lessons, you know there are fundamentals you must learn that will be instrumental in understanding why certain music sounds the way it does. Pairing wine and food is very similar. There are some basics you need to know so you can create your own masterpieces. So here you go: your own cheat sheet to making mouth symphonies.
1. The most important element is matching the weight of the food with the body of the wine. Full, rich dishes such as cream-based soups need heavier styles of wine like a full-bodied Chardonnay. In the same vein, a fresh arugula salad benefits from a crisp, light Sauvignon Blanc.
2. Acidity is king! Acid in wine is felt on the back sides of the tongue and makes one salivate, so it cuts through the fattiness of a dish.
3. A hint of sweetness goes a long way when it comes to spicy food. The sweetness actually diminishes the amount of perceptible heat, making that bowl of spicy noodles all the more enjoyable.
4. Higher alcohol wines are intensified when it comes to spice, so stick with some lower alcohol juice if it’s taco night.
5. Bubbles go with everything.
6. Pink bubbles really go with everything.
7. Rosé should be considered more of a year-round wine, but it pairs particularly well with fresh summer vegetables such as heirloom tomatoes.
8. “Red with meat, white with fish” is a lie! It really depends on the preparation (grilled fish or meat in a cream sauce), so don’t be scared to think outside the box.
9. Regional food goes with regional wine. If you aren’t sure what to pair with that spaghetti carbonara or coq au vin, just look to where the dish originates from and drink like the locals.
10. When it comes right down to it, the number one rule you should follow is: DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE! If you can’t get enough of Lucky Charms and Bordeaux, then, by all means, pair those pink hearts and yellow moons with a bottle of your finest. If it makes you happy… well, you know the rest of the song.