When it comes to food and wine pairing, there are those who match any dish with any wine and those who try to balance the flavors of cuisine with the perfect wine. No matter where you land on the spectrum, here is a full-proof menu I recently prepared for my friends. Food and wine pairing should be lots of fun and spark some interesting conversations. I like to share my idea of food and wine matching with the most common grape varietals.
Here is a recent five-course menu that could be easily be replicated at home. It is important to pay attention to the quality of ingredients, dramatic plating and the perfect wine, which elevates each course to another level of refinement.
+ Oysters – Champagne or Sparkling Wine
Roasted red beet salad, arugula and persimmons – Sauvignon Blanc
Sea scallop, shrimp and creamy sundried tomato polenta – Chardonnay
+ Pork tenderloin, braised chard, white beech mushrooms – Pinot Noir
+ Poached pear, chocolate sauce – Merlot
Champagne – Sparkling Wine
Characteristics: Apple, pear, fresh baked bread, brioche, citrus, a hint of honey, strawberry, herbal notes, almond
Pairing: Anything salty, caviar, oysters, smoked salmon, desserts
Characteristics: Green apples, lime, passion fruit, white peach
Pairing: Tangy dairy ingredients, shrimp, mild seafood dishes, herbal vinaigrettes, goat cheese, pork, turkey, chicken
Natural light sweetness with full, rich flavor, best serve at 52F – honeysuckle, peach, spice, floral
Pairing: Spicy Asian food, seafood, shellfish, grilled chicken
Pinot Gris (Alsac France)
Characteristics: Rich and often sweet, spicy tropical fruit aromas
Pairing: Seafood pastas, pork, halibut, salmon, chicken
Pinot Grigio (Northeastern Italy)
Characteristics: Light crisp clean and vibrant expression of the grape, with citrus flavor, grass
Pairing: Light seafood dishes, seafood pastas, shellfish
The most prominent flavor in Chardonnay wine comes from oak used in the wine production process. Other aromas include fruit, lemon, melon, grass, and vanilla, and a velvety feel in the mouth.
Pairing: Buttery rich sauces, fatty fish, shellfish, crab, chicken, turkey
Sweet and sour element, fruit, honey, quince, grasses, sometimes high acidity
Pairing: Best with food that has a sweet and sour element, pork, chicken, Asian food
Bright and citrusy, lime, crisp, minerals. Rieslings are similar to Sauvignon Blanc.
Pairing: Rich dishes flavored with a squeeze of lime, trout, chicken, pork, seafood
Easy tannins with a soft finish, black cherries, plum, chocolate
Pairing: Very food friendly–lamb, steaks, blue cheese, roasted pork, grilled chicken
High acidity and low tannins, scents of earth, spice, cherries herbs, raspberries, strawberries
Pairing: Most versatile wine to match with food: salmon, fresh tuna, duck, steaks, pork, cheese, mushrooms and truffles
Full-bodied red wine with dark fruit flavor, currants, black berry, plum, vanilla, cherry, pepper
Pairing: Beef, venison, roasted garlic, goat cheese, arugula, blue cheese burger, lamb
Milk chocolate, cocoa powder, violet flowers, leather, and depending on the amount of oak aging, a sweet tobacco finish.
Pairing: Barbecue sauces, grilled spicy meats including grilled chicken, lamb and pork
Syrah (Grape from the Rhone Region, France)
Dark fruit flavors from sweet blueberry to savory black olive with a peppery note, espresso, mocha
Pairing: Cured and smoked meats, beef, pork
Shiraz (Grape from Australia, New Zealand, America)
Flavors and aromas include peppers, berries, currants, and even chocolate.
Pairing: Lamb, venison, grilled meats
Moderate tannin and high acidity makes it taste bold with strong flavors and aromas of berries
Pairing: lamb, pork, grilled chicken, cheese, spiced barbecue dishes