There are lots of things to consider when choosing the perfect wine for your meal. Choosing the right wine can mean your meal tastes delicious though and it often means that your food will taste better because of how much the wine can complement the flavours brought forward in the food.
But first let’s consider the flavour interactions that are happening with the food and how you can embrace this. You are only able to detect four distinct flavours with your tongue: sweet, sour, salty and bitter; while your nose is able to decipher over 200 different aromas – big difference right? Because of this huge ability and the combination of both – your taste buds are actually much more sensitive than you might have realised! As you begin to pair wines with foods, keep in mind that the flavours of the foods can both contradict and compliment wine selections, and both can be good. For example if you drink a sweet wine with a sweet dessert – you’ll probably make the dessert taste less sweet.
Is your meal heavy or light?
The next thing to consider is whether your food is considered heavy or light. As a general rule people tend to prefer heavier wine such as red, with meaty food and bulky vegetables. So if you’re having a steak and potatoes – go for red. White wine is commonly served with chicken and fish because the lighter tones in the wine compliment the lighter, milder flavours in these dishes. Again, these are preferences and generalisation – so it’s best to experiment and decide your own favourite combinations.
It’s also worth noting the acidity of the wine and the strength. A strong wine with a high alcohol content may not want to be paired with a food dish that has a contrasted alcohol used in the recipe (Such as steak and ale pie for example).
Whatever you choose though – as long as you’re enjoying it that is the main point. You should be enjoying your food and wine is to be enjoyed too!