Wine & Food pairing is one of the most complex problems to solve for any wine beginner. But if you follow these basic wine and food pairing principles, you will be able to earn the respect of your guests ! Cheers!
1st principle :Never wish you hadn’t changed from the previous wine !
This principle is quite simple, always go from basic wines to more complex wines during a dinner. If you start with a great white wine, a Meursault Charme for instance, and continue with a simple Muscadet, you will end up regretting the first wine and your guests will appreciate the second course much less.
Pair your best wine with the main course. And match the rest of the dinner accordingly.
2nd principle :Respect your palate, from the lightest to the strongest.
Start with a sparkling wine, to tickle the palate.
Then a white wine will be perfect to follow
After that the major red wine.
Finish the meal with a sweet wine.
Change this rule, and already you are taking the risk of getting lost. Sweetness will be heavy on your palate, preventing you from fully enjoying the next wines. Start with the highest acidity and finish with sweetness.
One exception: If the white wine is full bodied, i.e. heavier than the red wine following (Like a “vin jaune” from Jura – A Trousseau for instance), in that case you should serve the white wine after the red wine.
3rd Principle : Great wines are self-sufficient
Here you go, with your famous red wine, complex, subtle. You don’t know how to perfectly pair it ? If you are damn sure it is a great wine, do not hesitate to drink it alone. After all it is the big moment of the meal and you do not want to risk an improper match.
Some common mistakes
1. The first mistake and the most catastrophic one: Starting with a sweet wine for the apero or with the first course. Please: no Sauternes with Foie gras at Christmas. The food & wine pairing is obviously great, but if you start with a powerful and sweet Sauternes, then all the next wines will probably taste light and inexpressive: You will have killed your palate and your “appetite”. If it is dificult for you to choose proper wines, you can try with Wiine.me wine subscription, as sommeliers pick out the wines for you and all you have to do is match them appropriately. In this way, you will also learn how to choose and pair wines.
2. The second mistake is to serve Champagne with dessert. The bubbles provide freshness and acidity. This is actually what you are looking for… at the beginning of the meal or as an aperitive. This will tickle your buds so you can enjoy the rest of the menu. After the main red wine, don’t go back to acidity.
Never forget wine should enhance your meal, a touch to highlight the magic of the cook.
Stop focusing on ideas and principles, trust your intuition and take risks !