Always start with the wine
While you could always start with the food first, experts recommend you go with the wine from the start. Why is that? Every wine has its fair share of foods that works great with. So you just start with the wine and match ingredients to suit the overall requirements.
Cabernet Sauvignon works great with cheese, burgers, meat and portobella mushrooms. Grenache Rouge is very good with cooked dishes like veggie bakes, macaroni cheese and so on. Then you have Malvazia di Candia which is usually paired with herb and quinoa salads, steamed clams with lemon. As you can see, starting with the wine delivers much better results, and you can build the menu around it.
Keep the flavor intensity in balance
A good rule of thumb is to always match mild wines with mild foods. If you have rich wine, then pair it with rich foods. Grenache Rouge is a mild wine, so you can easily match it with mild foods like pepper steak.
Focus on acidity
Some wines have a high acidity, and those are perfect when you eat oily food. However, if you have a dish that has a very high acidic content, then you must choose a dry wine, since it suits things a whole lot better.
The wine needs to be as sweet as the food
Yes, you always want your wine to be sweeter than the food. If you have sweet foods and combine them with a dry wine, that’s not going to be ok at all. One thing to note is that sweetness is balancing salt, so that’s why sweet wines accompany something like blue cheeses for example.
Go with spicy wine for spicy foods
In case you eat spicy foods often, then you do want to give spicy wine a try. Grenache Rouge is a great example of a spicy wine that goes really well with spicy foods. But there are many others, and it all comes down to you trying them out and seeing what works.
Pairing wine with sauce
This is actually a very good idea because you can match the sauce with some really impressive wines. Citrus sauces work really well with Cabernet Sauvignon for example. Then you have Syrah that works really nicely with red/meat sauces.
Eat and drink things coming from the same region
What that means is that a wine coming from Greece, like Mandilari for example, is very well suited for dishes from that area as well. Generally, this is a cultural philosophy, but you will notice that the local food and drink combination always works extremely well.
Incorporate textures into your food
You will notice that having various textures into your food can lead to a great wine pairing. What we recommend you here is to focus on the weight and body of your wine. Generally, the heavy dish will require a powerful wine so it can match it.
Salt can enhance your dish’s appeal
Salt is a stellar flavor enhancer and it can make foods more delicious. You also want to use it with sourness and sweetness so it can accentuate flavors. If you end up under-salting a dish, then the taste is bland and then your wine will be too powerful. Having a good balance is always important and it will help quite a bit.
Consider the cooking method
It’s important to keep in mind how the food was prepared, either via braising, poaching, grilling, roasting and so on. This will bring in different textures. Then you also have to think about sauces, as we mentioned above. If you have poached foods, then a light bodied wine makes perfect sense. In case of a roasted or grilled food, a weightier wine is a much better fit.
As you can see, there are many different tips and ideas to focus on when you pair foods with wines. There are a variety of wine and food pairings you can find online, and those can be a great starting point. What we do recommend is to take your time, assess multiple combinations and see what suits your needs. Plus, you can also start with the wine and then see what foods are a perfect pair for it!