Food & Wines Pairing Rules – Wines Style


From “Perfect Pairings” A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice fro Partnering Wine & Food – Evan Goldstein

When the wine is:


– Select dishes that are rich, creamy, high in fat or salty to counterbalance the wine.

– Match the wine with tart food (sharp ingredients, vinaigrettes and other sharp sauces).

– Use the wine to cut the heat in mildly spicy dishes.

– Try skipping the lemon wedge that you might otherwise serve with the dish (with fish, chicken, veal, pork, vegetables and grains)

Hot / Alcohol

– Ensure that the dish being served is ample in personality and weight, or it will be overwhelmed.

– Don’t serve very spicy-hot food, or you will be sorry.

– Remember that food will make the wine appear even hotter.

– Avoid excessive salt, which exaggerate your perception of the wine’s heat.




– Counterbalance the tannins by serving foods that are high in protein, fath or both.

– Remember that an entree relatively low in protein or fat may make the wine come off as even more tannic.

– Remember that tannin and spicy heat can clash brutally.

– Use pepper (cracked black or white) to counterbalance tannins, as it’s somewhat bitter by nature.

– Serve foods that are bitter (eggplant, zucchini, chard, endive, broccoli rabe and so on)or prepare ingredients in a way that accentuates bitterness (blackening, cooking over a wood fire, or grilled) to achieve taste symmetry.



– Because really oaky wines will always seem “bigger” with food, accompany them with bold recipes.

– Play up the oak through the choice of ingredients (include nuts or sweet spices) or cooking methods lightly grilling or smoking.

– Remember that oak aging adds rich texture that can be nice with rich and textured sauces and dishes.

Aged and Red

– Serve rare preparations of meats to fill in the flavor gaps left by the drying out of the youthful fruit that occurs as the wine develops in the bottle.

– Remember that because tannins soften over time, an aged red give you a broader range of food options than a tannic young wine does.

– Bear in mind that wines become more delicate as they aged; choice simpler preparations to show them off rather than make them compete for atention with complex recipes.

Aged and White

– Serve the wines with dishes that feature similar flavours (nuts, sherry, dried fruits) to mirror the flavor profile.

– Compensate for the lost acidity in the mature wine with acidity in the dish: a squeeze of lemon, a spoonful of verjus, or a splash of vinegar.



– If you’re serving the wine with dessert, choose a dessert that’s less sweet than the wine or else the wine will taste sour.

– If the wines is not too sweet (closer to off-dry), try serving it with foods that are slightly sweet to complement it, or dishes that are mildly hot or spicy as a foil.

– Try playing the wine against dishes that are a little salty; you may find some fun combinations, especially with cheeses and many Asian and Nuevo Latino, North African, Floridian / Caribbean, or Hawaiian-influenced “tropical” preparations.


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