There are some basic rules that will help you get the right combination of foods paired with wines. Yes, there are wines that will improve the quality of your dining experience when the right combination of food is pair appropriately with the right choice in wine. When you get it right, the right combination can make your meal immensely enjoyable while the wrong combination can ruin your dinning experience. However, the number one rule for choosing the right wine and food pairing is to choose the wine that you prefer.

These four questions will help you choose the right wine.

When you are considering which wine to order for your meal, keep in mind the following four questions. (1) What is the main dish? Is it fish, chicken or beef? (2) How will it be cooked? Will it be grilled, baked, lightly fried, or pan-fried? (3) Is the main dish accompanied by a sauce and if so, what kind of sauce and what are its flavors? (4) Will there be any side dishes and how will their flavors impact your wine choice? There are many different types of wine choices available today, so the basic wine rules may not always apply, but generally speaking these rules remain for the most part, still accurate for helping you make the right wine choice: white wines with poultry and fish, and red wines with beef.

When choosing your wines “think wine power”.

Generally speaking, red wines will work best with dishes that are rich, heavy and have a big flavor. When choosing a beef dish, you should consider the powerful strength of beef and choose a wine that has equal power. This rule also is effective for dishes that are served in rich, thick, heavy, full-of-herbs types of sauces. The reason why red wines and beef goes well together is that red wines contains tannins which mixes with proteins, allowing the flavors to blend well together. White wines do not contain tannins and therefore generally do not work well with red meats.

White wines works best with light foods, such as chicken, turkey or fish. Color and the aromatic smells of the flavors influence taste buds and wines that are lighter, such as white wines, will complement the meal and not overpower the flavors of the foods. Even in light types of foods, the type of sauce that is paired with the dish can influence the taste of the wine with the food. This changes the definition of light, and now that dish might be better paired with a red wine or Rose or a wine that has a bit more spice.

You need more than one wine, with a multiple course meal.

When you are having a multiple course meal, you should have more than one wine choice. To make one wine work for an multiple course meal would be difficult because of the multiple of flavors. If possible, choose a wine that is appropriate for the appetizer or first course, and then change the wine for the main dish, and then change the wine again for the dessert choice.

Start off with a lighter wine (usually white, or light tasting wines) and then move to the more full-bodied types of wine (red wines and burgundy’s) and then move to the dessert wines (ports & muscats.) Wines that have low acid can often be overwhelmed even with foods that are light in taste. Acidic wines that you would not drink alone can be quite wonderful when paired with the right food choice. The following examples of going from light to more full-bodied wines are: White Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewrztraminer and Chardonnay. In the red wines, go from the lighter tasting red wines to red wines that are more full-bodied: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

You can’t go wrong, when you choose a wine that you know you like.

The four questions guideline will help you to pair the right wine with your meal selection. Until you feel comfortable in making those wine choices for yourself, ask your server to suggest a wine for you. Be sure and tell them the type of wine you prefer, so they can keep that in mind before coming up with their recommendations. They should be able to provide you with three to four appropriate wine recommendations in varying price ranges that should work well with your meal. If you get a bottle or a glass of wine that you don’t like, then feel comfortable in sending it back and requesting a new bottle or a new wine pour. Of all the wines rules to follow when it comes to wine and food pairing, the number one rule to remember, is to always choose the wine that you like.

By: Karen Karila

About the Author:

The Backyard Wine Enthusiast is a wine lover and traveler who have sampled great wines worldwide and is the owner and writer for which has a complete selection of fine wines, wine accessories, and wine gifts. The online wine store provides a convenient one-stop shop for red and white wines, sparkling wines, wine of the month club recommendations, and great advice and tips on wine.

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