Bella Cavalli Farms

Wine and Food Pairings

The choices required for selecting a wine to be served with any meal whether it be a quick everyday lunch or a highly planned five course banquet should be a simple and enjoyable chore. And, if you play strictly by the old rules – red wine with red meat and white wine with fish and poultry – it almost always is.

And to a large degree the above remains quite acceptable, however this dated rule of thumb does not completely or effectively accommodate the new “fusion” cuisines seen both here and around the world with their diverse food flavors and combinations. This new age eclectic approach to food preparation has put a serious dent into many of the old cooking conventions but on the other hand, it also has encouraged new flights of culinary imagination for everyone involved with meal planning…from professional chefs to everyday home cooks. Its slogan suggests: “Let’s give it a try.”

With this new attitude and in straightforward and much more practical terms, it’s strictly up to the cook when the decision of which wine or wines to serve with the meal must be made. No more “red meat – red wine” prejudices but rather a common consent to switch, add, subtract, change and experiment with various wine/food combinations.

Despite all of the above and now after it’s said, there are several generalities that can and should be observed however and which, for the most part, will apply to whatever type of meal you are preparing. First, and certainly most important, is the admonition to use plain and simple common sense. For example, you should not have either the wine overwhelm the food or the food the wine. Don’t even think about a big fruity Syrah with a delicate soup and lightly toasted sandwich lunch…or a light and crisp Pinot Grigio with a succulent beef stew served over sesame bread biscuits! The wine overwhelms in one case and the food does in the other. An example of a nice balance would be a “flavored” fish like either salmon or tuna with a light pinot noir which also illustrates how the newer cuisines do not necessarily respect the old “red wine/red meat” conventions.

Another issue to consider takes into account the fact that all food and all wines have varying amounts of acidity, bitterness (tannins in wine), saltiness and sweetness. It would at first seem that closely matching these tastes in the food and the wine would be best…and oftentimes, it is. But at other times, it’s definitely not and having contrasting tastes between the food and the wine provides the most satisfying balance so consider these subtle differences.

If not obvious yet, may we please advance the idea that the pairing of a specific wine with a specific food is a very subjective process with no hard and fast rules or regulations and that there is absolutely no combination that everyone will hate and certainly none that everyone will love. So try them yourself and keep on experimenting and someday you’re going to find a never-tried combination that is absolute dynamite!

And ALWAYS remember that good wine, good food and good friends…no matter what the combination, is ultimately what it’s all about.

Share Your Pairing Tips!

After all your experimentation, how about sharing it with us? Simply email us with your new idea for a food/wine pairing, maybe a recipe and a little bit about how you got it all together and, if you wish, we’ll put it on the website with full credits to you.