Throughout our adult lives, we are told that certain foods just don’t play nicely with certain wines. However, trying to remember which goes with which is often a culinary puzzle most of us don’t want to tangle with. I mean we know a dry white wine goes well with most fish, but beyond that we are often left holding the bottle, a little bewildered.
If you are able to have a sommelier at your beckon call, well, good for you. However, most of us don’t always have that sort of access to a a wine expert when we need it. There are a number of guides and even mobile apps, but ideally food and wine pairing is something you kind of want to know, in a photographic memory sort of way, and not something you want to be consulting your phone about each time you need to order, pour, or buy wine.
Recently Serious Eats posted a great slideshow with information coming from the top sommeliers in the country about what some of the worst wine and food pairings might be and why. Here is a few to avoid:
- Tannic reds with raw fish – The wine makes the fish taste terrible and vice-versa
- Cabernet with oysters – Oysters taste like old metal cans when paired with Cabernet
- Spicy Curry with Champagne – A way to waste a good bottle
- Heavily oaked wines with spicy food – Heat and oak just don’t get along
One takeaway from these few advisories is that bold reds and fish just don’t get along. But still, one needs to know how to pair successfully, not just disastrously. Well, the best visual I found on the subject of successfully pairing wine with food was on Winefolly.com a few months back. The visual below provides a simple set of guidelines for 8 wine characteristics and the food with which to pair them. Sure, there are a few holes in this chart (fruit pairings are not represented and chocolate is actually fairly simple to pair) but it does make for an easily navigable chart that one may be able to commit to memory.
What are some of your favorite food and wine pairings?