Many wine drinkers have already thrown out the old rules of what wine to pair with what food. If you are still old school and insist on drinking white wine with fish, chicken and pasta or only drink red wine with red meats and tomato sauces, this blog is for you!
Yes, I understand why and where these rules developed. A hearty Cab tastes great with a rare steak. The fat breaks down the tannins…or do the tannins break down the fat? Who cares? And yes, a full bodied CA Chardonnay is perfect with that chicken alfredo. Both have a creamy texture, neither overpowers the other. And Gewürztraminer with spicy Thai food—yes, pairing opposite flavors does work. I’m here to mix up the rules! Let’s get started.
How many of you only drink reds? Lots I am sure. I meet those people all day, every day. So what do you pair with that chicken or fish dinner? Go red, but go light. How about Pinot Noir or Gamay? You still get the red wine you love, but the tannins are a little softer, the flavor a little lighter—perfect choice! And maybe you have roasted root vegetables with that white meat—how about an earthy red Bordeaux? Sounds good to me.
Now what about people that only drink whites, but are huge carnivores? Try a full bodied Chardonnay or white blend. Let’s also look at the side dishes or sauces that you will be serving with that steak. Maybe you have an asparagus side, Gruner Veltliner pairs perfectly, so try that with your steak dinner.
Summer is here. Maybe you are eating super light. What can you pair with that tomato and cucumber salad that isn’t light and white? Remember that tomatoes are high in acid and there is lots of flavor from the citrus or vinegar in your dressing. Wine Education 101 says Italian Tuscan reds pair perfectly with tomatoes. So, open up that Chianti, Brunello or Tuscan blend, pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes to bring the temp down to 55-60 degrees and drink up. That salad never tasted better.
The only rule you really need to remember is, “Drink what you love.” The food, the company, the atmosphere, the wine—it will all come together perfectly!
Bill Knowles, Boca Raton wine consultant
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinebillk.