With a union that dates back perhaps thousands of years, pairing wine with food is a time honored tradition. With wine being the “safest ” thing to drink, before modern plumbing and sanitation methods, it was a staple at the earliest dinner tables.
Naturally, wines of a certain region were matched together with the freshest local ingredients. While most pairings of wine and food were mostly a mix of whatever was most abundant in earlier times, the more modern approach is to find “complimentary choices”.
As a general rule of thumb, red wines pair well with red meats such as steak, lamb or wild game, while white wines compliment “white” meats with choices like fish and seafood, chicken or fowl, and pork. There are exceptions to this rule and a “connection” can be made in your pairings by sampling your wine and paying attention to its traits.
In recent years, the interest in food and wine pairings has increased, with “wine dinners” being a celebrated event at affluent restaurants. The premise being that a four course meal will be accompanied by four unique wine selections. Each wine choice will compliment its given course . Pub style restaurants have even been known to plan “beer dinners”. Pairing the perfect wine with the perfect dish takes mastery in the kitchen as well as a keen knowledge of wines and their characteristics.
There are many points of view as to what type of wine pairs best with which choice of food. One approach is to “contrast” your pairings. Choose a light bodied wine such as chablis, Pinot blanc or Riesling and serving it with a hearty dish such as Yankee style pot roast with homemade dumplings.
Another strategy would be to assemble a food and wine menu with similar characteristics. A good example would be serving a full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and pairing it with a fresh pasta dish with a bold and spicy marinara sauce.
Whatever choices that you make when mixing and matching your bill of fare, be assured that your guests are sure to find a connection between your dinner choices and the libations that you pair with them. Be sure to print an attractive version of your menu so that your guests can have fun while following along!