Food and wine pairing.

Golden rules.

Weight: It is related to the intensity of flavor. a grill fish will have a delicate flavor and if you add a sauce to it, the intensity of flavor will increase. Therefore, the description of the dish will be from light to medium bodied. The pairing of wine will be the same a light dry white wine for the grilled fish to medium bodies dry white wine even a light and low tannin red wine to be served with the fish and sauce.

When you add a sauce to a main ingredient, we must take in consideration the sauce as well regarding the pairing. We cannot take for granted,  the fish with white wine only, a curry sauce will transform the weight of the dish, therefore a medium bodied red wine like Pinotage can be serve in this case.

Flavor Intensity: it is related to the flavor of the main ingredient mostly. Example: a sole has a more delicate, light flavor in comparison to a sardine which has high fat contain, therefore more powerful flavors. Flavor intensity is based on the level of fat contains in the main ingredient. Example: Lamb has more flavor than Beef. The fat available in some meat can be remove than meat will be lean, however will loose some of the flavor. example: Pork, Rabbit, chicken (skin removed). All of these will influence the selection of wine to be served.

The five primary taste sensations:

  • Sweetness: Sweet food needs to be matched by wines that are at least sweet than the dish. If not, the acidity will have to be low as the tannins. A light fruity red wine with low acidity and tannins can be served, example: a chilled Cinsault. A dessert based on fresh fruit will be sweet however retain high natural acidity, therefore a sparkling from dry to semi-sweet can be served. A sweet wine can be served with most sweet dessert in the condition that the wine has a high acidity too!

  • Acidity: it is one of the main primary ingredients for pairing. Acidity in the wine will lift the flavor of the dish if the sauce has high acidity too, like lemon butter sauce. The balance of the wine will need to have high acidity also. Example: Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Saltiness: we all know that salt enhance the flavor of food. Not enough the food taste bland, too salty and you can not eat the food. Salt must be there but should not be detected.It is the same with the wood maturation in wine. The salt in a dish will enhance the flavor of the wine too, therefore the structure of the wine must match correctly the flavor of the dish. If the wine is full bodied, it may dominate the dish because of the salt which is enhancing the flavor of the wine.

  • Bitterness: the bitterness in the food may accentuate any bitter elements in a wine. Chicory, rocket leaves, olives, dark chocolate as examples show high bitterness ingredients. You must take in consideration the level of bitterness to match the correct wine. A tannic wine will give high bitterness flavor.

  • Umami: (delicious/essence in Japanese) it is related to savory. It is known as well as monosodium glutamate (MSG). it can be found in natural way in a lot of ingredients, but a lot of prepared sauces and spices we had the MSG.

Secondary Considerations:

Sauces will change the flavor of a dish; therefore it will influence the selection of the wine. Cooking method will also change the flavor like Smoking the food, spices and the ageing of meat.