F.A.Q. Your Questions Answered.
Choosing the “right” wine can admittedly be a daunting experience but help is here! I’ve listed a few ideas below to get you started but when it comes down to it, drink what you like! Trust your instinct and keep experimenting with different combinations. You’ll figure out what works for you. I’m always here for questions or guidance in a pinch…
Thoughts & Recommendations
Opposites attract. If the food you’re having is salty, try a wine that is sweet. The sugar provides a nice counter-balance to the salt. A classic example is Roquefort cheese paired with a sweet Sauternes or Monbazillac.
Acid is your friend! If you’re eating a food with a high fat content, you want a wine with high acidity. A classic pairing is salmon with a Sauvignon Blanc like Sancerre. Fat in food coats the inside of your mouth. The mouth-watering acidity in the wine cleanses your palette so that every bite is as fresh and flavorful as the first.
Red wine lovers can also love fish! Most dry white wines are good matches for a wide variety of fish but no need to despair if you’re a red-wine lover! The strong tannins in some reds can leave a metallic taste in the mouth when they interact with certain fish proteins but there are a variety of red wines that are low in tannin and work very well. Classic examples are lighter, non-oaked wines such as young fruity Pinot Noir from Burgundy or Languedoc or the wines of the Beaujolais Cru regions (not to be mistaken for Beaujolais Nouveau!).
Bubbles: Anytime, anywhere, with (or without) anything. Nuff said.
Anjou Rouge – Cabernet Sauvignon: I love this unoaked style because it has complexity and depth while remaining light and fresh. My current favorite with this wine is pork tenderloin.
Gewurztraminer: Try it the next time you order Thai takeout but be sure to have extra wine in reserve because it’s that good.
Chardonnay: Great for everyday enjoyment. I like it on its own or with any kind of fish.
Gigondas: I like this wine with rich and elegant dishes like 7-hour lamb.
Chateau du Petit Thouars – Cabernet Franc: Barbecue! The spiciness in this wine is perfect to balance out the sweet and vinegar-y flavors found in North Carolina barbecue (it works well with other barbecue styles as well).
Pinot Gris: I love this with chicken and any kind of pasta and vegetables in a cream sauce.
Vacqueyras: Lamb chops!
Riesling: All kinds of white fish as well as with muenster cheese.
Cotes du Rhone: When in doubt, this is your wine. Burgers, pizza, beef wellington… no matter how sophisticated or simple the dish, this is a winner.
One of my all-time favorite wine and food references is “What to Drink With What You Eat” by Andrew Dornenberg and Karen Page. With a double-sided approach from both the food and wine perspectives, this book offers comprehensive guidance and easy-to-read information. It’s also a great gift for any foodie and/or wine lover you know!
Epicurious.com is also a great reference along with its associated e-newsletter The Daily Sip, often with multiple suggestions for various foods. What are your go-to guides for wine info?