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4 Ways to Make the Perfect Food & Wine Dinner

Don't let pairing food with wine intimidate you!

When I chew a tidbit of whatever food I decided to eat that day, I am constantly thinking: Is there a wine out there that goes perfectly with this? I just know it exists and I am determined that I am the one who will find it. I just know.

More often than not, I have an idea already in my head of a recipe that I want to make or a wine I want to try. But I am missing the point. You can't just make a dish, and expect it to match a wine that is readily available. You have to know a little about the wine before you make the food.

The next time you're like me, and you’re over analyzing the meaning of life with every sip of wine you take, remember that it doesn’t have to be so complicated! The simplicity can make it wonderful. First; find a wine you love: maybe its a full bodied and buttery chardonnay, or something with a bit more spice like a traditional Malbec? Remember to enjoy it. Sip. Savor. Sigh= Love.

If pairing food and wine scares you, here are a few basic rules that can help you be sure of what your heart is trying to say to you:

  1. Color- First grade lesson: White wine goes with white meat. Red wine goes with red meat. -EX- Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay go well with poultry and fish. Red wines, like Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, pair well with beef and pork.

  2. Texture- high school grade level: Match buttery wines (that feeling when white wine lingers on your tongue like a coating- as if you just ate a spoonful of butter) with fatty meats. EX- Prosciutto- because it has a lot of fat- fat sticks to your tongue, too. A crisp and clean Pinot Grigio pairs nicely with a fresh, crisp garden salad.

  3. Cook with your wine- Making a homemade dressing? Add a few ounces of wine to the mix. Now anything you pour this dressing on will go with that particular wine you used! Say you want to open a bottle of red wine for the evening; pour a few ounces in your spaghetti sauce and then that bottle you just opened will go perfectly with dinner! This is a shortcut to food and wine pairing.

  4. Opposites Attract- Sweet and Spicy! Many enjoy the sensation of sweet and spicy together. Sweet flavors tend to calm down the spicy ones. In the food + wine world you might be eating jalapeno sausage that has some heat to it, so try a sweet red wine like Fiesta Winery's Back Porch Sittin'. This wine is a semi sweet red, but it goes great with spicy sausage. Or, grab that bottle of Riesling if a sweet and spicy stir fry is on the menu!

Just let the experience click like a light. Take a sip of wine and ask yourself, what food comes to mind? Creamy chicken pasta or homemade steak fresh from the grill with potatoes and veggies? With these 4 pointers you can do almost anything. Let your mind be in control of the experience. Every time you recognize a flavor in a wine you are using your memories and experiences. Let those guide you to the perfect pairing!

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