and Food Pairing!
The Central Coast of
California offers its visitors and locals a chance to experience fine
dining at its best. Proper wine and food pairing is important in
order to enjoy the taste of your wine selection and food.
We are going to give you a few tips in regards to selection the right
wine with your selection of food.
We have invited celebrity Eddie
Osterland an expert in the field of food and wine pairing to
educate you on which wines go with which foods. We certainly hope
you benefit from his knowledge and expertize on the subject.
Wine and Food Pairing Made Simple
By Eddie Osterland
Commandments Of Food & Wine Pairing
Commandment 1 - MATCH QUALITY
When pairing wine and food, you must always take into account the
quality of the wine and the quality of your dish. A complex dish made
for special occasions deserves a complex and special wine. On the other
hand; simple, everyday dishes match best with simple and easy to drink
wines. Putting a simple wine with a special dish would be as
unsuccessful as squeezing ketchup on to a Filet Mignon.
You must always attempt to match the relative quality of your wine to
the quality of your dish. If you are going all out on a meal, with the
highest quality ingredients turned into a dish possessing intensity and
complexity; you owe it to yourself to find a wine that also fits the
bill. If your food comes out of a box, well then, your wine probably
Dishes with Special Occasion Wines
with Everyday Wines
Commandment 2 - MATCH POWER &
Imagine you are at the dinner table and served a dish of delicately
seasoned scallops; along with a peppercorn encrusted, smoked venison
chop. As you begin to eat, you take a bite of the scallop, a bite of
the chop. A bite of the scallop, a bite of the chop... What will the
outcome be? Very quickly, you will no longer taste the scallop. The
same thing will happen if you pair a wine to a dish with the same
inequality in power. If you pair a Cabernet Sauvignon with those
scallops, all you would taste would be the power of the wine. If you
pair a soft Riesling with the smoked venison chop, all you get is the
Always take the relative power and weight of a wine and dish into
account when making a pairing. The whole point of wine and food pairing
is to make both the food and the wine taste better. If you cannot taste
one or the other, then you are defeating the purpose.
Heavy Dishes with
Heavy Wines, Robust Dishes with Robust Wines
Light Dishes with
Light Wines, Delicate Dishes with Delicate Wines
Commandment 3 - LOOK INTO THE MIRROR
One of the easiest ways to make a wine and food pairing seems like they
natural affinity for one another is to use mirroring when you pair.
Mirroring involves pairing two similar characteristics together to
bring out that shared characteristic. If you have a peppery dish and
want to emphasize the spicy pepper flavors, then pick a wine that has
peppery characteristics like a Zinfandel. If you have an earthy,
mushroom dish; and want to bring out that essence, pick an earthy wine
like a Red Burgundy. It is no mistake that a rich, buttery California
Chardonnay has a natural affinity for lobster; which is also rich and
One of the easiest ways to guarantee mirroring in a pairing is to use
the wine you are serving as an ingredient in the food as well. It makes
pairings seem like they are meant to be together.
Mirror Flavors and
Characteristics that a Dish and a Wine Have in Common
Commandment 4 - FIGHT FAT
While fat is what gives a piece of meat a lot of its flavor, it gets in
the way of flavor when eating. Practically every dish has a certain
amount of fat in it, and when wine and food pairing, you should always
fat into consideration. There are two ways to neutralize fat in a dish.
Use a wine that has a high tannin content, a high acid content, or both.
Wine and food pairing with dishes with a high level of fat such
as salmon, poultry, cream
sauces, and pork; are best paired with wines high in acidity. Think
Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The acid in these wines will
act like a knife that cuts through the fattiness in a dish, revealing
more of its flavor. At the same time, the fat in the dish neutralizes
much of the acidity in the wine, "dulling" the knife and making the
wine less tart.
For heavier dishes with high levels of fat, we need heavier wines; and
typically, the heavier the wine, the lower the acidity. Therefore, we
need a different way to contrast fat. These types of dishes are best
paired to wines high in tannins; such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
The tannins in the wine act like a brick wall that stands up to fat. As
tannins settle on the surface of the tongue, they physically block fat.
While this is occurring, the fat also helps to lessen the presence of
the tannins, so the wine will soften.
Use Acid and
Tannins to Contrast Fat in a Dish
Commandment 5 - UNDERSTAND HOW
FLAVORS WORK TOGETHER
Our sense of taste is a very interesting thing, indeed. Flavors on the
palate change the perceptions of flavors that follow them in a dramatic
fashion, and can make or break a food and wine pairing. One experience
with the way flavors work together that everyone can understand is what
happens when you brush your teeth and then make the mistake of drinking
orange juice. Yuck! The sweetness of the toothpaste actually changes
the perception of how we taste the orange juice, effectively stripping
it of any sweetness. By understanding how flavors work together, you
can feel confidant choosing certain wines for certain foods.
In its simplest terms, salty and sour flavors bring out the positive
characteristics and flavors of a food or wine. Bitter, sweet, and
savory flavors bring out the negative characteristics and flavors.
Chefs understand this, and it explains why almost all sauces are either
salty or sour. We season with salt and squeeze lemon on a vast
assortment of different foods. There is a reason that they serve salty
cheeses at a wine tasting - they are trying to sell wine!
Use these changes in perception to your advantage. To make wines taste
better, pair them with foods that have salty or sour flavors. To make
foods better, wines that are high in acidity and sour flavors work best.
Salty and Sour
Flavors Bring Out the Positive Characteristics of Flavor Sweet, Bitter and
Savory Flavors Bring out the Negative Characteristics
Commandment 6 - THINK LOCALLY
Wine and food pairing has been around for thousands of years; and
throughout most of its
history, people were not as mobile as they are today. If you were born
in Tuscany a hundred years ago; then most likely you would live your
life in Tuscany, and die in Tuscany. You lived your entire life eating
the foods of Tuscany and drinking the wines of Tuscany. Common sense
dictates that the wines and foods of a region pair together well. Just
because we live in a time when you can jump on a computer, book a
ticket to Paris, and be in Europe tomorrow; does not mean that we
should forget about the roots of wine and food. If you are serving a
regional dish, pair it with a wine from that region. They were both
made to go together. Wine and food pairing is easy if you make it easy.
Wines with Regional Dishes
Commandment 7 - SEE THE WHOLE PICTURE
How many times have you heard, "pair Pinot Noir with duck or Cabernet
Sauvignon with lamb?" While for the most part, these can be good
suggestions; a good wine and food pairing takes into account more than
meat or protein served in a dish. How many different ways can duck be
prepared? How many recipes could you find for lamb? When pairing food
and wine together, you need to see the big picture. Pair the wine not
only to the protein, but also the sauce, vegetables, and starch in a
dish. By taking the entire dish into account, you will be selecting a
wine and food pairing that will pair much more successfully with the
Components of a Dish into Account (Meat, Sauce, etc.) when
Selecting a Wine
Commandment 8 - SUCCESS WITH SPICE
It can be tricky to select a wine to go with a spicy dish. This is
because spiciness in a dish is not something we taste, it is something
we feel. A jalapeno pepper is hot because it physically irritates the
surface of the tongue. Wine and food pairing with spicy dishes, you
need to take this into account. Your best bet with spicy foods is
pairing them with a slightly sweet wine. The sweetness in the wine will
tame the heat of the dish and bring out more of its flavor.
Wines to avoid with spicy dishes are those wines that also irritate the
surface of the tongue. Tannins are a component of red wines which
irritate the soft tissues in the mouth causing a sense of "dryness" on
the palate. By adding this irritation to the irritation caused by spicy
foods, it will actually make the food hotter and the wine more tannic.
Stay away from the atomic hot wings and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon!
Spicy Foods Pair
Best with Slightly Sweet Wines
Spicy Foods are a
Bad Match for High Tannin Wines
Commandment 9 - THE SWEET LIFE
Thinking back to our earlier conversation about toothpaste and orange
juice, you need to be careful when pairing wines with desserts. The
simple rule of thumb is to always make sure that the wine you are
serving with a dessert should always be sweeter than the dessert
itself. Most sweet wines have a very intense level of acidity to them
to balance out their sweetness. If that sweetness is stripped away from
the wine, all that will show is that stark, raw acidity. By ensuring
that your dessert wine is sweeter than you dessert, the wine will
retain its natural sweetness and complement, rather than turn into
Should Always be Sweeter than the Dessert they are Served
Commandment 10 - RULES WERE MADE TO
The best thing about wine and food pairing is that it is always an
interesting experiment in matching things together. Sometimes it works
so well that you will remember the match and speak of its greatness
forever. Other times, you end up with a decent match, but nothing
special. Realize that there are no perfect food and wine pairings out
there. Everyone tastes things differently, and not everyone likes the
same combinations. Have fun with pairing, be willing to break any of
the rules, and most importantly - drink what you like. The truth about
pairing wine and food is that most wines go with most foods. In
reality, it is easy to match them together. Be willing to experiment,
try new things, and turn defeat into victory.
Celebrity Eddie Osterland has the honor of being America's First Master
Sommelier. He presents keynote speaker dinner entertainment, mixing a
different niche for client appreciation parties, cruises, conferences
or conventions. With this, he adds his knowledge, humor, fun and
entertainment and makes it all simple to enjoy and understand. He
teaches power-entertaining even to the meek!
Food & Wine Pairing Made Simple
If you need more information on wine and food pairing trying (www.winewebcentral.com) Wine and Food Pairing.
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