Matching Food & Wine

Matching Food & Wine

Many people have asked us about pairing wines with food.  Ultimately, if you enjoy the taste of a wine and food together, that’s a good pairing for you!  But, there are some pairings that can elevate a food and a wine to something almost magical!  Here are some tips on pairing foods with wine, and some common wine pairings.

High Tannin Wines
(Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Bold Zinfandels and Merlots, Syrah, for example)

Make a food taste less sweet.
Can taste bitter if paired with a food that is salty.
Can be too astringent with hot, spicy foods.
Are a great pairing with foods that have high protein or are fatty—like steak and cheese.

Sweeter Wines
(Riesling, White Zinfandel, some inexpensive whites)

Will taste less sweet and more fruity when paired with salty foods.
Make salty foods taste less salty.
Make hot, spicy foods less spicy.
Go well with sweet foods—it’s better if the wine is sweeter than the food you are serving it with.

Acidic Wines
(Pinot Grigio, dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc)

Taste less acidic when paired with salty foods or slightly sweet foods.
Will make salty foods taste slightly saltier.
Can complement an oily or fatty flavor in foods.
Can be overwhelmed by heavy, rich foods.

The principle of complementary flavors says that food and wine with similar flavor characteristics go together.  If a dish has mushrooms, and earthy wine like Morovino ’07 Cabernet or a European-style Pinot Noir would be a good complement as it also has very earthy flavor.  If a dish has citrus in it, an acidic wine like Morovino ’10 or ’11 Pinot Grigio is a good match.

The principle of contrasting flavors says that opposites can be a good thing!  A simple disk like broiled lamb chops pairs well with a complex wine like Morovino ’09 Dolcetto.  A hot, spicy dish pairs well with a sweeter wine like Morovino Cosa Dolce.

Here are some common food and wine pairings to help you start experimenting!

Oysters and Chablis or Chardonnay
Lamb with Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah
Salmon with Pinot Noir
Grilled fish with Pinot Grigio
Sushi with Cosa Dolce (Had to say it, it’s the best pairing ever!)
Grilled Chicken with Gamay Beaujolais
Cheese Fondue with Gewurztraminer
Mushrooms, Herbs and Dishes with Onion and Garlic with Merlot (fruit forward)
Grilled dishes, like Grilled Veggies and Polenta with Merlot (mature)
Ethnic Cuisines (like Mexican) with Medium to Full Bodied Red Zinfandels
Barbecue with Smoky, Rich, Softer Red Zinfandels or classic Barberas

One more quick tip.  If you end up with a less-than-excellent bottle of red wine (which would NEVER be a bottle of Morovino), the best way to try and save it is to chill it a bit.  Give it 20ish minutes in the fridge.  Cooling the wine will frequently help tone down any “over-achieving” flavor characteristics like tannin or oak.  However, if the wine smells like wet cardboard or newspaper, or bitter like fallen leaves, DO NOT DRINK IT.  Then you have a truly bad wine.  Any reputable wine store or winery will take this back and replace it.

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