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Tips for food and wine pairing

Pairing wine with food needn't be a daunting task. Some people will state that there are certain golden rules to doing this, but this isn't necessarily true. It is obvious that there are a few simple principles when deciding which wine goes with which food, but in the end, it is really a matter of taste. This article contains a few guidelines to make it easier to select a wine for a certain dish.

Experimentation

If you have absolutely no idea where to start when selecting a wine, try something acidic such as a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chianti, or a dry Riesling. These wines are versatile, and can be helpful if you have over-salted the meal as the flavour of the wine lessens the salty taste. The important thing to remember is that you will be the person drinking the wine. Start by trying various wines with your favourite meals so as to get an idea of the combinations which work. As long as you enjoy the match, the "rules" do not matter.

Sauce

Make wine matching easier by considering the sauce which will be served with the meal. If the dish contains a wine-based sauce such as a coq au vin, then you can just select the wine which is used in the recipe. With pasta, a deep red wine such as a Zinfandel goes perfectly with a meaty tomato sauce like Bolognese. With a light seafood sauce, a crisp dry white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc, or a rich white wine such as a Chardonnay matches very well with a creamy sauce.

Meat and fish

Chicken is a fairly neutral meat which takes on the flavours of the other ingredients it is being served with. The easiest thing to do when selecting wine for a chicken dish is to consider the sauce, as mentioned above. Red meat such as beef and lamb generally match very well with a good red wine, just as the traditional rule suggests. Fish, on the other hand, does not have to be served with a white wine. If you're serving a particularly flavourful piece of fish, try a rose wine for something different.

Spicy and sweet

Asian cuisine can prove to be tricky when choosing a wine. These dishes generally contain an intricate mix of flavours and spices which can be difficult to match. As a general rule, a fruity wine such as a Gewürztraminer or Riesling will best suit a spicy Asian dish. When choosing a wine to go with a dessert, the following rule is more or less foolproof - try and choose a bottle of wine which is sweeter than the dish that it will be accompanying.

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