How to Pair Food and Wine
Matching wine and food is a kitchen art, much like knowing which seasonings to use and how much. With a little wine and food knowledge, guesses as to which wine to go with what food usually work out. Here are a few guidelines that help:
- Match foods with delicate flavor and texture with lighter, more delicate wines.
- Match rich, flavorful cuisine with more forceful, robust wines.
- Match foods with heavy cream sauces with lighter wines of higher acidity.
- Match the origin of the cuisine with the origin of the wine, i.e. heavy Italian foods with Sangiovese, light Italian foods with Cortese; match cassoulet or other Mediterranean style stews with Syrah, etc.
- Match lighter, slightly sweet cuisine using brown spices or curries with fruity and slightly sweet wines.
- Match desserts with dessert wines.
Here are a few examples that you can use reliably from our wines:
Cortese with various light seafood like sole, orange roughy, shrimp, or lightly seasoned seafood pastas. Chardonnay with richer seafood like swordfish or lobster. Very flavorful seafood like grilled salmon, mussels in wine and tomato broth, or seafood pasta alle pescatore (with tomatoes, herbs and spices) go great with a lighter red like Sangiovese.
Basic beef dishes, like steak and roast beef with Meritage. Lamb dishes with Syrah. Almost any meat served with mushroom sauce with Sangiovese or Trovato. Hamburgers with all the usual additions go great with Shorty’s Bistro Red. French sausage preparations with Syrah, Italian sausage recipes with Sangiovese.
Pork and chicken dishes run the gamut. The preparation and seasonings will determine which wines go best. Meritage matches well with roast chicken, lemon, garlic and herbs, but with fried chicken, we’d recommend Riesling. Pork roast with a light pan gravy would go well with Chardonnay, but stuffed with prunes, nuts and a touch of garlic and rosemary, we’d go with Syrah.
For Holiday Season Dinners with turkey, stuffing, and numerous side dishes, we recommend having a red and a white wine on the table: Riesling for the white, and Sangiovese or Shorty’s for the red. More forceful dry wines come off badly with that mix of foods.
Slightly sweet salads like curried chicken salad with grapes, and also many Asian foods using brown spices go well with Riesling or Viognier.
Vegetarian foods follow the same general rules for wine matching. We often find that vegetarian dishes that use several kinds of vegetables together, such as ratatouille, do better with wine blends like Shorty’s Bistro Red or Meritage, rather than pure varietal wines.
Finally, desserts that feature chocolate are great with our Limited Reserve Port. Desserts with nut, caramel or honey flavors are wonderful with our Solera Cream Sherry. Finally, simple, fresh fruit desserts seem to match best with the more delicate flavors and lighter sweetness of our Riesling.
Have any good ideas? Let us know what you think.