Ordering the right wine-meal combination that matches your dining occasion can be a real art; and a real trick. But, if you do it, you will definitely enjoy an unforgettable dining experience.
Unless you are a wine connoisseur, the leather-bound wine list looks threatening and puzzling with the number of wine varieties of varied price tags and origins. But again, even for the most wine-savvy aficionados, selecting the right wine may be a real headache. However, panic should not be your counselor. Instead, you should be rather grateful for seeking advice from the sommelier, a specially trained waiter, who is both knowledgeable and willing to help you solving this dilemma.
> Is it fish, chicken or beef?
The first thing you should consider to make up your mind about the right wine is what the main dish you’re ordering is. Is it fish, chicken or beef? By and large, red wines pair with beef, white wines pair with fish and poultry.
The flavor of red wines matches best with dishes that are heavy and rich in flavor. If your main dish is beef, you should consider the powerful flavor of beef and how this mingles with wine when you taste it. Powerful flavors need powerful wines so that the flavor of wine does not overwhelm the flavor of the dish. Besides, red wines, unlike whites, contain tannins that mingle with proteins, so when it comes to powerful sauces, tannins allow the flavors to blend excellently together.
White wines are typically lighter and crispier. If you pair a light wine with a powerful dish such as beef, you will lose the flavor of wine and you will do nothing to enhance the flavor of your dish. White wines pair better with lighter foods such as fish, chicken and turkey. Typically, the aromatic scent of the flavors of white wines rather complement than overwhelm the flavors of the food.
> Is it grilled, baked, steamed, fried, sauted or pan-fried?
Delicately flavored dishes pair exceptionally with delicately flavored wines. Steamed or poached dishes pair best with white wines because of their light taste. For instance, a Chardonnay, a Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc pair superbly with fried calamari, steamed clams, sauted abalone, fried or baked chicken. Grilled, roasted, fried, sauted or braised dishes pair best with red wines because of their more intense flavor. For example, a Pinot Noir, a Merlot or a Shiraz pair greatly with roasted beef, braised chicken, stew, barbecued meat or ratatouille.
> Mingle bitter and sweet
Sweetness in a dish enhances the taste of bitterness and astringency in wine, making it taste stronger and drier. In contrast, a more acidy food decreases the feeling of sourness in wine, making its flavor mellower and sweeter. For instance, many people pair a good wine with their dessert. Desserts that are less sugary than others typically pair with dry wines because their opposite flavors mingle and detract from both. For instance, a sweet Riesling is a better choice for a dessert than a dryer Chardonnay.
> Trust your instincts
Rules are to be broken, especially when it comes to personal tastes. Some people do not like dry wines whatsoever, while for others red wines are too heavy and spicy. It’s good to have a general idea about these general guidelines, but, on the other hand, it’s also good to experiment with new combinations of flavors. Make your personal choices based on your mood and what seems your dinner and your food most enjoyable.