Whether you’re cooking for a date or inviting over a group of friends for a meal, nothing goes with dinner better than a nicely-paired bottle of wine. If your typical drink is an ice cold beer, you might be left scratching your head while perusing the wine aisle, trying to figure out which bottle to serve. Thankfully, choosing the right wine to serve with your food isn’t hard once you learn a few basic rules.
Serve tannic reds with rich, fatty foods.
If the main course is a lusciously-marbled piece of beef or if you’ll be serving a decadent and creamy Gouda mac and cheese, a tannic wine will help cut through the richness of these kinds of foods. Likewise, fatty foods help cut the astringent nature of tannic wines. To complement rich dishes, pick a California Cabernet or a French Bordeaux.
Think white with light.
Lighter dishes such as chicken and seafood tend to pair well with white wines. If you have a dish with a white wine sauce, pair the dish with the wine used in the sauce. For dishes with a tangy flair, choose a Sauvignon Blanc to accent the flavors. Meanwhile, a Pinot Grigio pairs well with other kinds of light chicken or seafood dishes.
For spicy foods, go light on the alcohol level.
If you’ve ever taken a bit of something spicy and swigged an alcoholic beverage to find no relief, that’s because alcohol amps up the oils in spicy foods that set your taste buds on fire. Choose a low-alcohol wine like an off-dry German Riesling if you’re planning on serving food with a kick.
Sweet goes with sweet.
Although it might sound like overkill to serve a sweet wine with an already-sweet dessert, give it a try! You’ll want to choose a wine that’s lightly sweet (something like a Moscato d’Asti is always nice) so it won’t overpower the dessert.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, you can wine shop with confidence. Bon appetit!