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Food & wine pairings: our advice
In France, the culture of wine dates back more than 2,000 years. This is why it is of course inseparable from our gastronomy. To better appreciate them both, and at the same time, to shine better in society, it is important to know how to tune them well.
Why is it important to pair food and wine?
When you go to a good restaurant, it is customary for the sommelier or the waiter to wait until you have chosen your dishes before coming to advise you on the choice of your wine. This is far from trivial.
In fact, the wrong choice of wine can greatly change the tastes and flavors of your meal . When you drink or eat something, your taste buds adapt to make you appreciate this or that flavor and exclude others.
If you take care to pair wine and food, the wine will sublimate the sensations provided by your meal. Conversely, a dish, even made by the best of chefs, can go bad if the wine (even if it is excellent in itself) does not go well.
After spending hours cooking, no one wants to see their meal ruined by bad dish wine pairings. This is why we have summarized, for you, the rules to follow to make good food and wine pairings.
The rules to know to match dishes and wines
Wine and meat pairings
This is probably the best known rule. Red meat or barbecue meats are usually best paired with red wine . But this is not valid in all cases.
Wine and sauerkraut pairings
For your garnished sauerkraut , opt for a good white wine from Alsace or beer. For white wines, a Riesling, a Gewurtzraminer or a Pinot Blanc will go perfectly together.
Wine and veal blanquette pairings
Blanquette de veau is a traditional French dish that you can enjoy with white wines or light red wines.
Read also this recipe "wine and veal food pairing"
Wine and cheese pairings
Avoid drinking rosé with strong cheeses , such as Roquefort and Munster. Indeed, the acidity of the rosé will remove the taste of these dishes in the mouth.
Cheese and red wine pairings are less simple than it seems. While red wine is good with strong cheeses with strong flavors, it is not always suitable.
More delicate cheeses go very well with white wine . For anything very salty, don't hesitate to offer beer.
Wine and fish pairings
One of the known rules is that it is better to pair fish with white wine. As with meats, this rule is not always true.
Dry white wine, for example, goes extremely well with seafood, for example. One of the most natural pairings is that of champagne with oysters. Chablis and Muscadet are also excellent with seafood . The white wines of Burgundy also give very good results. With baked salmon en papillote, we recommend white wine such as Pouilly-Fumé, white and organic Languedoc from Oé or a Muscadet.
Wine in cocktails
For aperitifs, avoid wines with too powerful tastes , or those which are too rich in sugar or alcohol, for the aperitif. Indeed, this risks inhibiting the flavors perceived by your taste buds during the meal that follows. Thus, you risk less appreciating the wines and dishes.
On the contrary, you should favor light white wine, blanc de blanc champagne and other sparkling wines that will free your palate.
Accompany wine differently
From the beginning to the end of the meal, you have to be careful that the flavors of the wines and dishes increase in power , and not the reverse. Indeed, if you start with a very powerful wine, the rest of the meal will seem bland.
The classic route is to start with a light white wine, to go with your starter. Then move on to a hearty red wine with your main course. Finally, for dessert, choose a soft or fruity sweet white .
This is a base, but, of course, remember to adapt it to your tastes and desires, as well as those of your guests. Adapt especially according to the recipes you have chosen for the meal.
How to choose a bottle of wine?
When it comes to French wines, the three main pieces of information contained on a wine label are the region (or appellation), the grape variety and the age of the wine.
It is these data that will define the main characteristics of the bottle.
Choose an appellation and a grape variety
In France, an appellation corresponds to a geographical area, a type of grape and a particular technique used . This is why by choosing this appellation, one can have an idea of the aromas contained in the bottle.
It gets a bit more complicated when you leave the French terroirs. Indeed, there are thousands of different grape varieties in the world. Moreover, the appellation system is not necessarily the same and, in some countries, the region of production is not necessarily indicated. Thus, if you opt for a foreign wine, take care to know the wine in question well, or to seek an outside opinion.
The year of production
The year of production, or vintage, is also very important. Indeed, climatic conditions can greatly influence the quality of a wine. Thus, the same wine can be very different from one year to another. This is why the price of a bottle can vary depending on the vintage.
Furthermore, each wine gains and loses aromas and characteristics as it ages. So, while a wine may pair very well with a particular dish one year, that pairing may not necessarily work once the wine has aged.
You should also know that the older a wine is, the more difficult it is to match. So, if you want to taste an aged wine, opt for simple dishes, which will give way to the particular and delicate flavors of the drink.
The easiest way is still to drink this type of wine alone, and choose another to accompany your meals.
Another point to take into account, before serving a bottle of wine during a meal, is its temperature. Indeed, each wine needs a certain temperature to reveal all its qualities.
This is a fairly common mistake, which can be made by amateurs and catering professionals alike.
The serving temperature is very important. Red wine must be “chambered”, that is to say kept in a slightly cool room (around 20 degrees depending on the wine). White wines should be served chilled, but not iced.
You should know that, in general, the cold inhibits the aromas.
Finally, remember to open your bottles of red wine a few hours before serving them. This allows for optimal tasting.
You now have a number of rules in mind to properly match your wines and your dishes. The important thing now is to follow your instincts and your desires, and to trust yourself.
Learn more about food and wine pairings...
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