food and wine pairings part I – matching flavour profile

Posted on March 27, 2009

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howdy folks.  I thought this week I’d add a couple of words on the topic of food and wine pairings.  Rather than dive into the complexities of food and wine matching, I want to provide some general guidelines that will help you decide on a bottle the next time you’re in the LCBO, thinking about the dinner party and what will work with it.  Here’s my typical weekend scenario.  I find some adventurous dish I want to make for my wife and/or family.  I get all excited about getting the groceries for it, spend some time out Saturday morning at the farmer’s market here in Guelph.   Next thing I know, I’m at the LCBO desperately trying to figure out what the heck is going to work with the amazing dinner I’m creating.  To save you from the same fate, I’d like to provide some tips on matching wine and food.

First consider the strength of a wine and the food you are matching it to.  By strength I mean how strong the flavours are expressed, how tannic, acidic, viscous and alcoholic the wine is.  Food will have many of the same properties (minus the alcohol, and generally no tannins!).  Try and match strong wines with flavours in your food that are just as strong.  A ripe big cabernet sauvignon works well with grilled steak for a number of reasons, but one is that the wine is full of big ripe flavours and tannins and the steak is meaty with big flavours from the grill and spices or sauces.   A burgundian style pinot noir works well with salmon for the same reason – the wine is delicate with a lighter flavour profile, the salmon is similarly delicate.

More to come next week, as well as some tasting notes from another LCBO pick under 20 bones!

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Posted in: wine info