The perfect dinner deserves the perfect wine, and as the host, you’ll been keen to get your food and wine pairings just right. As wine distributors in Thailand since 1996, the team at Ambrose Wine and Spirits are experts on all things wine-related. A family-owned and operated business, we have accumulated a vast amount of experience and today we will give you some tips on creating the perfect food and wine pairings.
You don’t have to be a sommelier to get it right, just some basic knowledge will equip you with everything you need to know for dinner party success.
When we say ‘intensity’, we’re referring to the strength of flavour. If the food you are planning to pair the wine with has a heavier taste, then it will easily overpower a lighter-tasting wine. For example, a steak cooked in a thick mushroom sauce would easily overpower a light white wine. That’s why red meats are generally paired with red wines.
Three Primary Wine Flavour Components
Wine-tasting terms are more complicated than they need to be and are usually intimidating to the casual wine lover. There’s a simple way to cut through the technical jargon just by knowing these three flavouring components that exist in every wine.
Tannins - During the fermentation process, tannins are produced by the organic material from the grapes during the maceration process. Due to the drying sensation caused by high tannic wines, they pair better with oily grilled meats and seem to cleanse the mouth of the oiliness left by these high-fat meats.
Dry vs Sweet - Considering wines are fermented from different chemical structures of sugar, naturally, some are sweeter than others depending on the length of fermentation. Often the sweetness of a wine is directly related to the amount of sugar left in the wine after fermentation. A dry wine would be less sweet compared to off-dry and dessert wines because, unlike the latter, a dry wine would have lost most of its sugar content during the fermentation process.
Acidity - The more acidity a wine has, the more water it creates in the mouth. For example, an acidic wine would balance out the acidity of the brine in a seafood dish and would thus leave the natural flavours of the dish intact. An effect that is the complete opposite of higher tannic wines that clean the oiliness left behind by hearty meat dishes.
Basic Points on Wine Pairings
The acidity of the food matters, and the wine should be more acidic than the food you serve.
The same goes for sweetness; the wine should taste sweeter than the food.
Generally, the drier the wine is, the less sweet it will be, as most of the sugars have been fermented into alcohol.
The intensity of flavour should be matched with the food, so there’s a balance between both.
Red and red goes great is a simple way to remember that red meat (beef, lamb, etc) should be paired with red wine.
White and white is also a great way to remember that white wines should be paired with white meats (fish, chicken, etc).
A simple rule of thumb is to match the wine with the sauce rather than with the meat.
Examples of Wine Pairings
Cabernet Sauvignon - These wines are excellent for their rich, fruity flavours and their high tannic concentration, which makes them ideal for dishes with rich cream and red meat. They are usually a match made in heaven for steak, lamb, venison, and burgers.
Merlot - Another wine that’s rich in tannins and on the dry side; they pair brilliantly with rich fatty dishes to clean the palate of the oiliness from a rich duck confit. You could even pair it with a hearty meal of carbonara pasta.
Dry Sparkling Wine - These sparkling wines have the effect of uplifting most food dishes because of the perfect amount of dryness and its bubbling effect. This makes them easy to pair with most food dishes. Creamy cheeses, shrimp, shellfish, smoked salmon, fried calamari, or oysters. Its versatility seems almost limitless.
Dry Rosé - A light variety goes nicely with grilled fish and chicken, while a medium-bodied rosé would pair well with saltier foods like olives and anchovies.
Ambrose Wine and Spirits have an incredible selection of wines to choose from for the ideal wine pairing. You will be delighted at what you can find at one of the most comprehensive wine distributors in Thailand. Get in touch today.