|Food 99/1: Pairing wines with spicy, salty, and robust dishes|
|Monday, 23 January 2012 06:56|
There are many “perfect” wine and food combinations that are hard to ignore if you are a “foodie” however there are lots of combinations that are lesser known but equally intriguing. Most people have trouble pairing wines with spicy, salty or robust dishes, but there are answers to those predicaments!
Chinese food, with its sweet, sour and spicy elements makes for a challenge to find a good wine and food pairing. My suggestion is to stick with an off dry Riesling. There is a natural acidity that remains in Riesling wines regardless of its sweetness level, and this acidity will help to keep the palate fresh with spicy food.
The off dry versions (Rieslings can vary from bone dry to semi sweet to sweet) provide the sweetness needed to soften the perception of spice in a dish. If you are serving a sweet and sour dish, a Riesling will also complement the meal with its floral and apple bouquets.
Mild to medium spiced Indian curries also fall into an off dry Riesling pairing. Germany, Austria or Canada all have Rieslings that offer notes of melons and pears that can stand up to and complement aromatic spices of curries and cilantro. Gewurtztraminer is also a great choice for pairing with spicy foods, whether its curry or dishes with Asian based flavours. The name Gewurtztraminer translates into “spice wine”, its aromatic, floral characteristics can enhance many spicy dishes.Red wine is not out of the question while choosing pairings for your sweet and sour or spicy dinner, just avoid heavily oaked wines and wines with lots of tannins (like Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon). Fruitier, softer wines are best with spicy dishes- try a Zinfandel from California, a Barbera or a Dolcetto from Italy if you want to choose red.
If you have a really spicy dish, pull out a Spanish Cava or French Champagne to help liven up the dish and refresh your palate.
Saffron is a spice that is derived from the stamen of a crocus, naturally providing a floral element to the dish it’s in. Accounting for the floral elements in the food, a great pairing with Saffron is a Viognier. A white wine from France and more recently popular in California, Viognier is a medium to full bodied wine with floral notes to help pull together the saffron and wine. If you would like to pair your saffron dish with a red, try a Pinot Noir.
Vinaigrette dressings are always hard to pair wine with especially because pairing the wrong wine can make the wine taste astringent and the food taste off. If you are serving a salad with a vinaigrette dressing, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc is your best bet (and try to use lemon juice as the acidity in your dressing, it has a bit more sweetness than vinegar).
Most wine experts with agree that artichokes unilaterally make a bad food and wine combination, regardless of the wine. If you want to serve artichokes with a wine, choose a highly acidic wine like a Muscadet from Loire Valley in France or Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
Wine and food pairing is about pulling your flavour memories and piecing them together to come up with a pairing that is right for you. So, while there are rules that are recommended for pairing, ultimately the perfect pairing is the one you enjoy the most. So, go out and experiment and find the best food and wine match for you!
As always if you have any other wine or food questions drop by our website at www.ninetynineone.com and drop us a line in the Q&A section of the site. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have.
Cheers & happy quaffing.
99/1 Food Service Management in Freeport is owned and run by Tim and Rebecca Tibbitts. 99/1 is a full service catering business serving scrumptious offerings with top quality ingredients. 99/1 also specializes in cooking classes, guided wine tastings and tutorials, drop off dinners and in home catering. www.ninetynineone.com (242) 553-2426
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