Food and wine matching is a divisive topic. But whatever side of the fence you sit, two things are for sure – it’s all about balance of flavours and having fun. While there are no hard and fast rules, here are some loose guidelines to get you started.
Balance is everything in food and wine matching. In general, delicate foods work well with lighter bodied wines, while more robust foods work well with fuller bodied wines.
Applying the maxim of ‘like with like’, pair acidic wines with acidic foods to soften the wine and enhance its fruity flavours. Wines high in acidity also pair well with salty or fatty foods, adding a delicious contrast.
Sweetness vs. saltiness
Sweet wines match well with sweet foods (so long as the wine is sweeter than the food), but also work well with spice and salt. The sugar in the wine cools down the heat in spicy dishes, while salty foods can enhance the fruitiness in the wine.
Tannins impart structure and texture in wine, but can also leave an astringent aftertaste. This is where fatty foods have their place, softening the tannins to create a smoother mouthfeel.
Wines high in alcohol tend to clash with spicy foods, intensifying the heat; opt for milder dishes. Wines with some time in bottle are more forgiving, allowing for more experimentation.
- Kellie Arbuckle