Oh my, rules for wine & food pairings

Oh my goodness, I stumbled upon a great article about food and wine pairings.  And I am utterly infatuated with the twisted Crispy Udon Noodles with Nori Salt dish on the first pairing. Take a look at the suggestions from foodandwine.com.

F&W’s (Food and Wine website) Ray Isle created pairing principles for the world’s most important wines, then the F&W Test Kitchen came up with stellar recipes to match. The result: 15 simple rules that will steer you to the best wine and food pairings ever.

1. Champagne is perfect with anything salty.

Crispy Udon Noodles with Nori Salt

Most dry sparkling wines, such as brut Champagne and Spanish cava, actually have a faint touch of sweetness. That makes them extra-refreshing when served with salty foods. Recipe to try: Crispy Udon Noodles with Nori Salt

More ideas: Champagne Pairings Slideshow

2. Sauvignon Blanc goes with tart dressings and sauces.

Scallops with Grapefruit-Onion Salad

Tangy foods won’t overwhelm zippy wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde from Portugal and Verdejo from Spain.Recipes to try:
Scallops with Grapefruit-Onion Salad (photo) Sour Orange Yucatán Chickens

More ideas: Sauvignon Blanc Pairings Slideshow

3. Choose Grüner Veltliner when a dish has lots of fresh herbs.

Zucchini Linguine with Herbs

Austrian Grüner Veltliner’s citrus-and-clover scent is lovely when there are lots of fresh herbs in a dish. Other go-to grapes in a similar style include Albariño from Spain and Vermentino from Italy. Recipe to try: Zucchini Linguine with Herbs

More ideas: Grüner Veltliner Pairings Slideshow

4. Pinot Grigio pairs well with light fish dishes.

Seafood Tostada Bites

Light seafood dishes seem to take on more flavor when matched with equally delicate white wines, such as Pinot Grigio or Arneis from Italy or Chablis from France. Recipe to try: Seafood Tostada Bites

More ideas: Pinot Grigio Pairings Slideshow

5. Choose Chardonnay for fatty fish or fish in a rich sauce.

Sizzling Shrimp Scampi

Silky whites—for instance, Chardonnays from California, Chile or Australia—are delicious with fish like salmon or any kind of seafood in a lush sauce. Recipes to try:
Sizzling Shrimp Scampi (photo) Crisp Salmon with Avocado Salad

More ideas: Chardonnay Pairings Slideshow

6. Off-Dry Riesling pairs with sweet & spicy dishes.

Thai Green Salad with Duck Cracklings

The slight sweetness of many Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and Vouvrays helps tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes. Recipe to try: Thai Green Salad with Duck Cracklings

More ideas: Off-Dry Riesling Pairings Slideshow

7. Moscato d’Asti loves fruit desserts.

Honeyed Fig Crostatas

Moderately sweet sparkling wines such as Moscato d’Asti, demi-sec Champagne and Asti Spumante help emphasize the fruit in the dessert, rather than the sugar. Recipe to try:Honeyed Fig Crostatas

More ideas: Moscato d’Asti Pairings Slideshow


8. Rosé Champagne is great with dinner, not just hors d’oeuvres.

Beet Risotto

Rosé sparkling wines, such as rosé Champagne, cava and sparkling wine from California, have the depth of flavor and richness to go with a wide range of main courses. Recipe to try: Beet Risotto

More ideas: Rosé Champagne Pairings Slideshow

9. Pair a dry Rosé with rich, cheesy dishes.

Triple-Decker Baked Italian Cheese Sandwiches

Some cheeses go better with white wine, some with red; yet almost all pair well with dry rosé, which has the acidity of white wine and the fruit character of red. Recipe to try: Triple-Decker Baked Italian Cheese Sandwiches  More ideas: Dry Rosé Pairings Slideshow

10. Pinot Noir is great for dishes with earthy flavors.

Leek-and-Pecorino Pizzas

Recipes made with ingredients like mushrooms and truffles taste great with reds like Pinot Noir and Dolcetto, which are light-bodied but full of savory depth. Recipes to try:
Leek-and-Pecorino Pizzas (photo)
Shiitake-and-Scallion Lo Mein

More ideas: Pinot Noir Pairings Slideshow

11. Old World wines and Old World dishes are intrinsically good together.

Pappardelle with Veal Ragù

The flavors of foods and wines that have grown up together over the centuries—Tuscan recipes and Tuscan wines, for instance—are almost always a natural fit. Recipes to try:
Pappardelle with Veal Ragù (photo)
Smoky Shrimp-and-Chorizo Soup

More ideas: Old World Wine Pairings Slideshow

12. Malbec won’t be overshadowed by sweet-spicy barbecue sauces.

Chicken Drumsticks with Asian Barbecue Sauce

Malbec, Shiraz and Côtes-du-Rhône are big and bold enough to drink with foods brushed with heavily spiced barbecue sauces. Recipe to try: Chicken Drumsticks with Asian Barbecue Sauce

More ideas: Malbec Pairings Slideshow

13. Choose Zinfandel for pâtés, mousses and terrines.

Creamy Chicken-Liver Mousse

If you can use the same adjectives to describe a wine and a dish, the pairing will often work. For instance, the words rustic and rich describe Zinfandel, Italy’s Nero d’Avola and Spain’s Monastrell as well as chicken-liver mousse. Recipe to try: Creamy Chicken-Liver Mousse

14. Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous with juicy red meat.

Lamb Chops with Frizzled Herbs

California Cabernet, Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends are terrific with steaks or chops: Their firm tannins refresh the palate after each bite of meat. Recipes to try:
Lamb Chops with Frizzled Herbs (photo)
Korean Sizzling Beef

More ideas: Cabernet Sauvignon Pairings Slideshow

15. Syrah matches with highly spiced dishes.

Cumin-Spiced Burgers with Harissa Mayo

When a meat is heavily seasoned, look for a red wine with lots of spicy notes. Syrah from Washington, Cabernet Franc from France and Xinomavro from Greece are all good choices. Recipes to try:
Cumin-Spiced Burgers with Harissa Mayo (photo) Asian-Spiced Pork

More ideas: Syrah Pairings


Written by: Ray Isle

About the author:

Title: Executive Wine Editor

At Food & Wine since: 2005

Born and Raised: Houston

Background: Before Food & Wine, I was the managing editor of Wine & Spirits magazine. Prior to that I was a freelance journalist who sold Port during his daytime hours.

What I Do at Food & Wine: Write the Tasting Room wine column, appear frequently on various TV and radio outlets, think up ideas for wine feature stories and often write them, blog, lure other editors into our regular wine tastings.

Career Turning Point: In 1997 I was working as a cellar rat during harvest at Clos LaChance Wines, up above Saratoga, California, while teaching creative writing at Stanford. I was at the winery at about 7 a.m. punching down fermenting Pinot Noir grapes, which is hard, tedious work. But the mist was clearing off the mountains in front of me, the air smelled of new Pinot Noir, and I thought to myself, the hell with academia. I’m switching to wine.

Most Memorable Wine Experience: Walking up the hillside slope of Miguel Angel de Gregorio’s Calvario vineyard in Spain, while he explained to me that local pilgrims used to follow the same path, and each turn represented a different station of the cross. Calvario is a great Rioja, but that insight into the history of the region and how it is embodied in the wine encapsulates why I love writing about the stuff.

Favorite Obscure Grape: Black St. Peters. It’s actually an early 19th-century name for Zinfandel, and I wish they’d go back to it. Drinking a glass of Black St. Peters sounds so much more dangerous than drinking a Glass of Zinfandel.

Biggest Wine Pet Peeve: Expensive wine aerators. Buy a jug. Pour the wine in it. Presto! It’s aerated.

Fantasy Wine Splurge: A case of each of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s wines from the 1990 vintage. Though I’d settle for a case of each of Roumier’s wines from the 1990 vintage.

Guilty Pleasure: BBQ. Particularly brisket (as a Texan). Particularly from Louie Mueller’s, in Taylor, outside Austin.

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