Classic Food and Wine Pairings
Peanut butter and jelly. Tom and Jerry. Left Shark and Right Shark.
Some things are just meant to be in pairs, and the same is true for classic wines and their perfect dishes. You probably hear about “food and wine pairings” all the time, but what does it mean?
Essentially, when a dish and a wine are paired together it’s because either there are similar notes in each that complement each other in the best way, or they are friendly opposites, and the flavors have nothing to do with each other but they still bring out unique traits in their pair.
We’ve compiled a list of the most classic food and wine pairings and explanation as to why the work. Check it out!
Dark Red Wine and Red Meat: This is a tried and true combination, and for good reason. Dark reds, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, are robust with tannins, which means they’re going to be on the drier side, pairing well with the rich fattiness of a piece of high-quality meat. They also tend to be earthy and deep, similar to the flavors of a grilled steak or peppery filet mignon.
White Wine and Fish: Certain fish are richer than others which can determine the wine it’s served with, however, that wine will almost always be white. Red wines are far too dry and bold and will overpower a delicate piece of seafood. A white wine is going to have those citrusy, floral notes that amplify the flavors of the fish, for the same reasons we always squeeze a bit of lemon over a freshly cooked piece of seafood.
Chardonnay and Lobster: As mentioned above, seafood is far too light to be paired with red wine and that whites are best for fish. However, lobster is much more specific and should generally be paired with a Chardonnay, simply because of the buttery tendencies of both. A quality Chardonnay has a creamy, smooth taste that goes extraordinarily well with the garlic or lemon butter in which you’re dipping your lobster.
Sweet White Wine and Soft Cheese: In France, a typical dessert with include cheese, fruit, and wine, and that wine is most likely a sweet wine, which rounds out the entire meal. Sweet wines aren’t meant to be consumed in large quantity, they’re intended to be a lovely end to a full meal. They’re also the perfect buddy to go with a sharp, salty cheese like a Stilton, or even a funky, smooth one like a Camembert. Sweet and salty are always meant to be friends!
Port and Dark Chocolate: Similarly to the Cabernet and red meat pairing, Port and dark chocolate are a classic duo. Port tends to be deep, dark, and fruity, which goes hand in hand with a delicious dark chocolate. The port has enough sweetness to bring out the sugary nature of the chocolate but it also contains a little bitterness, as a high-percentage dark chocolate will too. Drying red wines like a Pinot Noir should be avoided when you’re eating a chocolate dessert, as the tannins will ruin the flavor of the chocolate.