There are a few things to keep in mind when pairing food with your wine:
1. Start with an open mind There are no hard fast rules to food and wine pairing. We drink wine to enjoy it, not because we are following a manual so when pairing foods with your wine you are allowed to be daring. Sometimes you will get it horribly wrong, but then you probably have some great food and some great wine, so in the end you are still winning, even if they don’t pair as well as they should.
2. Think about the food your are pairing AND the wine as a whole and not just the taste I know I know, I also thought it was all about the taste, but it seems there is more too it than that. Of course the flavour is a huge component in a pairing but also the way the food and the wine is made, taking into account weight, structure and bouquet. For example a delicate appetizer would pair with a delicately structured wine rather than the fuller bodied “robust” vintages. With regards to taste, remember that opposites attract as well as similarities attract. A sweet does not always have to be with a sweet, so have some fun and mix it up.
3. Know how to taste the food with the wine This is the only time I will tell you what you should do. This is how I was taught and some people do it differently so it is only a suggestion. A suggestion that works for me though
- Take the wine, have a good sniff and take a sip.
- Think about what you taste, not what the bottle told you, you should taste.
- Think about what you smell, some wines smell wonderfully fruity and sweet and then are surprisingly dry on the pallat, notice these differences
- Now try the food, think about it in the same way.
- Try break down the flavors a little (see tastes below and embellish on these if possible).
- Notice if you recognize any of the same flavors that you thought about in the wine.
- Now try the wine again, has the addition of the food flavors in your mouth changed anything about the wine? (Hopefully for the better if not, try a new wine).
4. Know your 5 basic tastes: Knowing the 5 different tastes can really help you to identify hat you are getting from the wines, these are of course the BASIC tastes and there are many more subtleties that we can add to it, but i am not a lecturer so you can discover those on your own.I will not go as far as to tell you what goes with what because that’s the fun of it isn’t it?
- Umami (Savoury)
How do you put your newly learnt skills to test? Join us on a tour – especially our Winelands Luxury tour and use these skills when tasting some great combinations lovingly paired by the resident wine makers.