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What Food with Which Wine? Pairing Simplified!

 

New The Know Your Wine SeriesHERE’S THE CHEATSHEET! Because among the biggest confusion that members have, I have found that it’s on pairing wines with food. In other words, what food do you eat with which wine?

Pairing Indian food with its rich, aromatic spices can be tricky. You need to experiment, there is no 'one wine fits all' here
Pairing Indian food with its rich, aromatic spices can be tricky. You need to experiment, there is no ‘one wine fits all’ here

In our beloved country where you can get any type of cuisines under the sky, pairing the right wine with the right food seems like a maze to some.  That’s why a handful would rather stay put with the tried-and-tested, won’t-go-wrong ─ White Wine with White Meat and Red Wine with Red Meat adage

Guess what? This well-known principle may be too vague and may not always be true.

Tip: The flavors that survive heat are sweet and sour. That’s why both crisp and slightly sweet wines can cool the palate after a fiery onslaught. Examples include wines made from Riesling and Muscat.
Tip: The flavors that survive heat are sweet and sour. That’s why both crisp and slightly sweet wines can cool the palate after a fiery onslaught. Examples include wines made from Riesling and Muscat.

There are two main reasons for this. No.1 is due to the fact that wine nowadays especially new

Thai piquant flavours go nicely with whites
Thai piquant flavours go nicely with whites

world wines (eg. Australia, Chile and New Zealand) are made to be all-round food-friendly hence there is really nothing wrong matching white meat to red wines.

As for No.2, Where would the fun be if you are always having either merlot or chardonnay?

So, how shall we go about it?

Match the Country’s Food with the Country’s Wine

Pizza with a Prosecco
Pizza with a Prosecco

For a start, if you are having cuisine of a country which produces

Mussels with Sauvignon Blanc
Mussels with Sauvignon Blanc

wines, match the food back with the country’s wine. For instance, Pizza with a Prosecco; a very nice quesadillas with a tempranillo or mussels with Sauvignon Blanc. This fundamental works because throughout the years, these local dishes had been matched with local wines to a great extent. Think of it as the trial and error of wine tasting had been done for you.

In the event that you are unable to have wine of the same origin with your food, your next best bet would be to pair according to:

Weight ─ If your dish is a light dish, match it with a light white or light red

Acidity ─ If the food you are having is oily and fatty, pair it with wines with high acidity as this would help to cut through the oil

Sweetness ─ Always pair with wines with similar sweetness or sweeter especially with desserts

Ah! Peking duck and Dim Sum goes nicely with a sweet red
Ah! Peking duck and Dim Sum goes nicely with a fruit-forward red

I personally like to pair food with wines using the contrast principle eg. high acidity wines with creamy as I have found it works best for my taste but you can also try complimentary principle.

The rule of thumb of wine pairing is to remember, a good pairing would enhance the food you are having and not the other way round.

Sushi, Sashimi...what are the best pairings? It's yours to discover
Sushi, Sashimi…what are the best pairings? It’s yours to discover

In addition, you would need to have a basic knowledge of what to expect of the wine and food taste like which on a lot of occasion would mean that you need to try the wines with the food.  But then, trust me. Every new trial is a new journey.

Happy trying!

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Trina is the founder of Wine Tasting Malaysia, an online based wine enthusiast group with weekly wine tasting events all around the Klang Valley. Often found with a wine glass in her hand, she truly believes life is so much more WINEderful with wines. She is currently on a quest to gather 1000 wine enthusiasts in Malaysia. Be part of her quest by joining Wine Tasting Malaysia via Wine Tasting Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) ─ Meetup or Facebook’s winetastingmalaysia. She calls Subang Jaya her home and can be reached at winetastingmalaysia@gmail.com

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