4 Things Most People Get Wrong About Pairing Food with Wine

Food and wine are meant to be together and it has been this way since times immemorial. And still, a lot of people have to rely on a clerk to tell them which wines should go with what food. There are also many myths floating around on how you should do it.

A particular article on the science of pairing wine with food, which we read recently, touched on some of those myths. One of them was the idea that red wines should go with red meats and white wines with white meats, which is a mistake many of us have committed at some point in time.

Pairing food with meals doesn’t have to be complicated, however. Once you know what mistakes to avoid, things become much simpler. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest wine pairing mistakes to avoid, courtesy of Underground Cellar.

Mixing Strong Wines with Spicy Food

You should never pick wines with high alcohol content with spicy food. All this will do is exacerbate the food’s spiciness and make it unbearable. Instead, you want something under the 12% mark. Another thing you should do is avoid picking wines that are too bold for delicate dishes. A shiraz or cabernet sauvignon would overpower something like white fish or a delicate pasta dish. These wines would work best with something like a hearty Bolognese or smoked meats.

The same can be said about cheese. A light cheese should go with light wines and strong cheese with strong wines. A strong cheese like a Stilton would work perfectly with a Porto, for instance. Your aim should be to always match intensities. 

Using the Wrong Wine for Desserts

Many people don’t know how to pair wines with meals, but even more are mystified about pairing wines with desserts. You want to avoid picking a wine that has less sugar than the dessert. This means that champagne is not the best pairing for a piece of cake, even if it’s a staple at most weddings. If you have to go with bubbly, however, make sure that you go for off-dry options.

Being Afraid of Acidity

With that being said, sweet wines are usually not the best choice for most meals. Acid wines are usually a better option here. Dishes with a lot of acidity will pair well with acid drinks, and they will also make for a great palate refresher if you’re eating hearty meals that are high in fat.

Always Going by the Rules

You should also know that wine pairing rules are still subjective. If you like a certain wine with a certain dish, go for it even if it goes against everything you’ve been told. We all have different taste buds and experience food differently, so don’t be afraid to experiment and break the rules from time to time.

These are just a few examples of errors people make when pairing wines with their favorite meals. The more you know about the subject, the better you’ll be able to build a list of go-to wines for any occasion.