Wines are the perfect way to marry all the ingredients in one plate. But today there are so many to choose from that choosing the right one can be tricky. But once you get to know the basics of wine and meal combinations, you can grow your knowledge on your very own, making your own experimentation and trying different combinations.
One of the key rules you’ve probably heard of is “red wine with red meat; white wine with white meat.” Of course every rule has its exceptions, and in this case there are lots of white wines that can go well with some red meat meals and vice versa. But this rule is still a very good starting point!
Let’s concentrate on red wines. What makes the difference between one red wine and another while combined with a meal is the amount of tannin. Tannin are the natural organic compounds (coming from the grape’s skin, the seeds and the stems) with which red (or rosé) wines are made of. These are what give the color to the wine (thus why white wines have no tannins!). Tannin is also one main classification criteria of wines since it greatly affects the taste (depending on the soil where the grapes were grown, the weather, the region, the methods used, etc.)
Know this: a wine with lots of tannin (tannic wines) are stronger and their taste is more pronounced than the less tannic ones. A good example for a high-tannin wine is the Irouléguy from the South-West region of France. As opposed to a Beaujolais which is less tannic.
Now let’s go to a beef meal. Of course a different cooking mode calls for a different wine.
First: Beef steak (“blue” or medium-rare),
Calls for a powerful and rich red wine:
Pomérol – wine from Bordeaux, France
Pinot Noir – wine from Alsace, France
The traditional Cabernet Sauvignon – wine from California, USA or Australia
Second: A grilled beef with some sauce (Béarnaise maybe? or Pepper sauce?
Calls for a well-rounded and perfumed wine:
Madiran – wine from the South West region of France
Château-Neuf-du-Pape – wine from Vallée du Rhône, France
Aglianico del Vulture – wine from Italy
Naoussa – wine from Greece
Third: A long-simmered beef,
Calls for a high-tannin, strong and full-bodied wine:
Arbois – wine from Jura, France
Pinot Noir – wine from South Africa or Argentina
Shiraz – wine from California, USA
Well, these are only some of the thousands of combination you can make, and remember, taste is personal, it may “go well” with your meal, but that doesn’t mean you will like it!
Instead of choosing a wine to match your meal, try choosing a meal to match your favorite wine! What about that!
Have a nice one!