Wine and Meat

Wine and Meat

Pairing wine and food appropriately can serve to enhance flavors in the main dish. However, a mismatched pairing between wine and food can overwhelm the flavors of the main dish, or cause the wine to taste unpleasant.

In order to master wine food pairing, some knowledge of wine categories is required. While navigating the multitude of wine selections on the beverage menu, you might have come across terms such as “light bodied” or “full bodied”. A wine’s body is an indication of the viscosity of the drink. Full bodied wines have a higher alcoholic value, which gives these wines a thicker, more viscous feel than light bodied wines. Full bodied wines tend to have a richer and more intense taste.

Knowing your wine’s body is a useful guide when selecting what meat should complement your wine of choice. A common guideline for wine and food pairing recommends combining two similar flavors. It is important to pair food that tastes just as intense as your wine of choice.

In particular, certain meats such as turkey and chicken tend to have a darker appearance and more intense taste. These meats are considered to have a heavy “weight” as they are rich in protein. Hence, as a general rule, lighter meat should be paired with light-bodied wine; likewise, darker meat with full-bodied wine. For example, chicken with barbeque sauce can take on more full bodied wines, such as a Shiraz (red wine). However, pairing the same Shiraz with a light salad might overwhelm your palate and drown out the flavors of the food.

It is also critical to note other aspects of food, namely acidity and sweetness. Pairing sweet dessert foods with acidic wines will cause the wine to taste even sharper, which makes for an unpleasant dining experience. Instead, food and wine with similar acidity should be paired together. For instance, the combination of the astringent tang of a Muscat white wine with chicken breast drizzled with lemon juice, make a great pairing.

Preparation methods and seasoning of meat is an additional consideration which should not be taken lightly. These factors can alter the meat’s taste, which will affect the reception of the paired wine. When it comes to oily or salty food, an alternative food and wine pairing rule recommends marrying opposite flavors in food and wine.

Pairing food and wine with opposite taste characteristics helps to wash away the dry, sticky aftertaste of consuming oily, creamy or salty food. For example, a sparkling rosé champagne can invigorate your taste buds after eating dishes like fried chicken. The sweet aroma and bubbles in the champagne counter any greasy dryness in your mouth, while the slightly yeasty flavour of the wine matches the fried batter. This guideline of pairing contrasting flavors also applies to salty foods. For example, the salty taste of turkey ham or cheese could be enhanced and balanced by sweet notes present in a Sauternes white wine.

All in all, there are a few general rules for the best wine-food pairings. However, there is no single answer as to which type of wine makes the best pairing with poultry. Ultimately, it depends on your own personal taste and the way the meat is cooked.