Choosing the right wine for a dish


If you like good food, there is a good chance that you also appreciate a good glass of wine. And although you can of course also enjoy a good glass of wine on its own, it is also worthwhile to combine a good wine with a tasty dish. A good wine-food combination is important. Some wines and dishes complement each other and ensure that the flavors come together very well. While a wrongly chosen wine can be completely unappetizing with a dish.

To ensure that wine and food go well together during dinners, parties or just everyday dinner, you will need to know more about pairing wines and dishes. You are not obliged to do anything, because you naturally choose the wines with your meal, but there are a number of basic rules that you can use to choose a suitable wine and food combination.

Why should the wine match the dish?

When you organize a dinner party, you naturally want to cook the stars from heaven. You will have to ensure that your guests are comfortable and that everything is correct. Good wine is part of that. A wine-food combination is a suitable combination of a dish or course and the accompanying wine. The other way around is also possible; a dish that goes with a wine.

A well-combined wine and dish brings out the flavors of the food better, but the taste of the accompanying wine will also be even better. The dish and the wine complement each other and take the entire meal to a higher level. So combining food and wine well has a clear advantage.

Basic rules for combining wine and food

In a restaurant, the sommelier is the person who combines wine and food. A task for which you need a great deal of knowledge of wine. If you do not have that knowledge (yet), it can be difficult to choose a good suitable wine.

The following rules can help when choosing wines for dishes.

Combine sleek with sleek

Dishes with a sour or salty taste, such as dishes with tomato, goat cheese or oysters, give a certain 'tight' mouthfeel. Therefore, choose a wine with a higher acidity for these dishes. The combination of a slightly more acidic wine and the tight mouthfeel ensure that both the wine and the dish have a rounder taste.

Examples of wines: Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling.

Filming at filming

When experts talk about a 'filmy mouthfeel' they mean creamy, round and smooth. The opposite of tight. Good examples of these types of dishes are ragout, pasta carbonara or salmon with a creamy sauce. In these cases, the creamy sauce determines the mouthfeel. For these types of dishes, choose a soft wine that leaves a filmy feeling in your mouth.

Wines that meet these characteristics are, for example, a Pinot Gris. Merlot or Syrah or the well-known Chardonnay .

Red meat goes well with tannins

When you combine a wine containing a lot of tannins with red meat, the proteins in the meat counteract the stiff mouthfeel that the tannins in the wine are responsible for. This will make the wine taste better.

Good wines for red meat are Bordeaux, Chianti or Barolo.

Choose wine that matches the taste

A light wine goes well with light dishes such as a salad or a dish with chicken or turkey. A Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir or a Grüner Veltliner are therefore a great choice.

If you serve a dish with a slightly higher flavor content, it is better to serve a wine with a more intense taste. Think of a Malbec, Zinfandel or a Rioja.

Complex wines with complex dishes

Some dishes have multiple flavor dimensions. A hunting dish, for example, which consists of several layers of flavor. If you drink a simple wine, the flavors of the dish will completely drown out the wine.

It is therefore better to choose a wine with the necessary complexity. This does not always have to be red wine, because there are also complex white ones. A good matching wine could be a Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhône, Moselle or a Rioja.

Provide contrast

All the tips above for pairing wine and food are really about finding the right balance between wine and the dish. Sometimes a contrast creates a very nice taste experience.

  • Salty cheeses are very well combined with a sweet fortified wine, such as Port.
  • A sweet wine goes very well with spicy food. The sweetness provides that filmy mouthfeel. For a spicy dish, feel free to choose a slightly sweet Riesling, Spätlese) or a Gewürztraminer.
  • There is also a good wine for a greasy or fried dish. A wine with a fresh taste is a nice contrast to the oily taste. So you can choose wines made from Beaujolais or a Sauvignon Blanc.
  • With a rich dish, such as a cheese fondue, a full-bodied wine quickly becomes a bit too much. So choose a light wine, such as a Grüner Veltliner or a Pinot Blanc. These have a more neutral taste and that makes the dish less heavy on the stomach.

Tips for pairing wine and a dish

You can always ask for advice from a good liquor store or wine store. You can also buy excellent wines in the supermarket, but you probably don't need to go there for advice. Fortunately, you don't have to be a wine connoisseur to choose the right wine for a dish.

The next time you stand in front of the wine aisle, you can use the above rules for wine-food combinations to choose a well-matched wine. Always read the wine label carefully. You will find out what kind of taste the wine has, and sometimes it even tells you what type of dishes the wine goes well with.

If you want to learn more about wine and discover the different flavors, you will simply have to taste the different wines yourself. Try different types of wine to get to know the taste of different grape varieties. This makes it a lot easier to choose a wine that suits a dish yourself.

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