The right wine can elevate a dish’s flavor and the right food can enhance a wine as well. Here’s a simple breakdown of how to pair wine with meals. But remember – in the end, you should eat and drink the foods and wines that you enjoy!
The attributes of wines can accentuate the flavor profiles within a meal. For those looking to get the most out of their dining experience and elevate the pleasure in every sip and bite, here’s a practical, straightforward guide to food and wine pairing. But as stated earlier – in the end, eat the foods you like and drink the wines you like.
Although there are several well-established textbook wine and food pairings, everyone’s palate is different. Trying different pairings can help you get a better sense of your preferences and provide a more interesting and fun experience. Food and wine pairings can work in contrast, or in harmony, with each other. Both principles are equally effective.
In general, match bold foods with bold wines and delicate foods with delicate wines. You wouldn’t place a ballerina in the ring with a prize fighter, so let’s avoid that at the dining table. A few side points to remember: alcohol will accentuate spicy flavors. So, if you want to turn up the heat, drink a wine with higher alcohol. But if you are hoping to tame the spiciness, pair with a lower alcohol wine, or a wine that has sweetness.
When pairing wine with desserts, the wine should be sweeter than the dessert. Traditionally, people have held that to the idea that red wines generally pair well with red meats, while white wines work better with white meats and seafood. Since many entrees present a kaleidoscope of spices, foods, sauces and flavors, it is recommended that you concentrate on the main character of the meal. Be daring and try new combinations. You may be surprised at what you discover about your food and wine preferences. It’s fun to be adventurous!
A popular, dry white wine is Chardonnay. Many white wines, such as Chardonnays, are often paired with fish and work particularly well with seafood that’s served in a rich sauce. Versions that retain Chardonnay’s natural acidity are well suited to rich, creamy dishes.
To demonstrate this, try Gervasi Vineyard’s distinctive Bellina Chardonnay paired with the Twisted Olive’s Lobster Ravioli with Seared Scallops. Bellina’s barrel fermentation and finely executed malolactic fermentation produce a well-integrated wine with nuanced oak and light buttery textures that match perfectly with the sweet richness of the scallops and the lobster cream sauce. Its light oak structure and acidity then offer a cleansing counterpoint to the union of the wine and food.
Riesling is one of the most food-friendly wines available. Consider its key attributes of higher acidity, fruitiness, and a range of sweetness. Because of these characteristics, Riesling pairs well with a broad range of foods. Pair Riesling with aged and gooey cheeses, fruit, assorted nuts and salads. It also can pair well with lightly sweet deserts. Because of its fruity characteristics, sweetness and lower alcohol, it’s a great match for quelling the heat in spicy foods. Riesling can also work as a counterpoint to Asian foods and complement the delicate flavors of seafood and shellfish.
Try Gervasi’s Piove Riesling with the Crush House’s Crispy Fig Crostatas. Piove’s light sweetness and fruit complement the dried figs and clover honey while its bright acidity tames the cream cheese textures. Or, try it alongside the calamari and experience both harmony and contrast between the wine and calamari.
Sparkling wine is universally accepted as a celebratory beverage, but its versatility opens the door for many other pleasurable imbuements. Sparkling wines are perfect aperitifs allowing for socializing ahead of the meal. They have an honored place among hors d’oeuvres while still being able to complement rich main courses and desserts. Their effervescence offers a counterpoint and cleansing to salty snacks and foods and a balancing impact to entrees with bold flavors like oysters and smoked fish.
Enjoy Gervasi’s Prosecco with the Bistro’s Artisan Piatti. Prosecco provides a brisk freshening of the palate after each delectable bite of prosciutto and the assortment of cheeses and thus creating a setting for the next savory bite. Also enjoy Prosecco with Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail at The Still House or Lambrusco with the more casual Chex Mix with Maple Candied Applewood Bacon and Roasted Peanuts.
Sauvignon Blanc has gained notoriety for its higher acidity in combination with grassy, citrus and light tropical notes. The citrus notes of Sauvignon Blanc complement light foods seasoned with subtle herbs. The grassy elements combine to perfection with grilled vegetables, fish, and poultry. If you are looking to experience some contrast in your food and wine pairing, Sauvignon Blanc’s natural acidity can cut through the richness of sauces often found on seafood or pasta.
Enjoy Gervasi’s Fioretto Sauvignon Blanc with the Crush House Shrimp Vegetable Linguine or Greek Chicken Orzo. In each of these pairings, you’ll experience the beauty of Fioretto’s refreshing grassy and citrus character complementing the green vegetables, while its soft edged acidity tames the richness of the sauces. This will leave your palate satisfied and refreshed.
Cabernet Sauvignon is viewed by many as the King of red wines. It embodies a full body and a tannin supported structure interlaced with fruit notes of black currant, black berry and cherry. Also look for traces of black pepper, bell pepper. Cabernet Sauvignon best pairs with bold meals high in fat and umami flavors, such as steaks, red meats, and mushroom sauces.
Enjoy Gervasi’s Abbraccio Cabernet Sauvignon with The Twisted Olive steakhouse menu offerings from Fillets to Prime Delmonico. While visiting The Bistro at Gervasi Vineyard, try Abbraccio with the Tuscan Beef Short Ribs for a full-flavored experience. In each pairing, you’ll experience the complementary union of Abbraccio’s tannin structure and dark berry notes with the savory explosions of flavors in the prepared meats.
Although these guidelines are a great place to start, the best way to find out which wine and food pairings you prefer is to start experimenting. At Gervasi Vineyard, enjoy a robust selection of wines and an array of dining options. Plan to attend a pairing event at Gervasi Vineyard where you can try several varietals of wines with small plates and select a new favorite!