13 May How Does The Wine Region Affect The Pairing of Food and Wine?
This Week In Wine 101: How The Wine Region Affects Your Food & Wine Pairing
Let’s face it, when it comes to pairing food and wine together, the two are a match made in culinary heaven. So the question is, how does the region affect their compatibility? And, is it true that wine and food from the same region automatically pair better – or is this just nonsense?
The idea of pairing certain foods with specific wines is a practice that’s existed for centuries. We’ve all heard how red wines should be paired with red sauces, beef, chicken, pork, etc., or how white wines go with fish, chicken and white sauces. But the pairing of certain foods or cuisines with wines from the same region isn’t as complicated as it may seem. The truth is, food and wine grown in the same region do pair well together; of course this depends on an individual’s palate.
When deciding what types of foods to pair with wines from the same region, pick wines that you like. For example, Kim Crawford’s Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough, New Zealand, goes terrific with oysters and yellowtail sashimi. This is a light-bodied wine with a light meal. Not to mention the flavors complement one another and when washing down the oysters with the white wine you’ll feel like Hemingway in “A Moveable Feast.”
When contemplating which foods to pair with certain white grape varietals, choose foods and wines that have the same body weight. For example, listed below are white wines, from light to full-bodied, that go well with foods from the same region starting with Pinot Grigio and finishing with Chardonnay.
Italian Pinot Grigio: A light-bodied wine that goes well with a roasted chicken or seafood, like oysters, clams, or vegetable dishes.
German Riesling: Try with a nice seasoned fish. This can also serve as a nice pair.
French Gewurztraminer: from Alsace can be used as an aperitif before a meal. It also pairs well with Muenster cheese, foie gras and smoked salmon.
Sancerre: A great medium-bodied white wine that goes nicely with croque monsieur, seafood and pork dishes.
California Chardonnay: Pairs well with salmon, roasted chicken or swordfish.
When contemplating which foods to pair with certain red grape varietals, choose foods and wines that have the same body weight. For example, listed below are red wines, from light to full-bodied, that go well with foods from the same region starting with Beaujolais and finishing with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Beaujolais: From Burgundy, it comes in a variation of body weights, but it’s often light-bodied. These wines are sweet and tend to have a higher level of acidity. What’s more, in France they are sometimes served chilled and go well with ratatouille, fish, and duck.
Spanish Rioja Tinto Reserva:A delicious medium-bodied wine that pairs extremely well with foods like paella, lamb, and chorizo.
Australian Syrah/Shiraz: Also medium bodied, try with a bison burger.
Argentinian Malbec: Full-bodied wines like this will melt in your mouth when paired with smoked salmon, hamburgers, steak or brisket. Argentina is renowned for its beef and their Malbec wines will hold its own nicely with the meal.
California Cabernet Sauvignon: If you’re into local cuisine, try ostrich medallions with this or other full-bodied wines from California.
These are but a few examples of food and wine from the same region that pair well together. If you’d like to see for yourself how the regions affect the taste of wine and foods from a particular part of the world, try cooking a meal that is native to that region. Pay special attention to the tastes you experience when you pair the two. Ultimately it comes down to your palate. Choose a wine you enjoy then tailor the meal around the wine. If you are up for trying a new wine, read the flavors you can expect to smell and taste, then cook a meal that will pair well with the wine from that region based on the wines flavors.
After taking your first sips of wine and bites of food, note your experience. Did you feel the food and wine paired well with each other? Did it make a difference? If yes, why? If no, why so? Neither answer is right or wrong. Remember, wine is subjective and so is food, so listen and begin to learn, discover and trust your palate.
So, Yes! As a general rule you can expect food and wine from the same region to pair well together. When wines are matched with foods that have the same body-weight they are more likely to blend well together. For example, light-bodied wines with light foods like vegetable plates, fish and chicken tend to complement the flavors of the wine. When pairing wine and food, first choose a wine you like, and then select the meal.
If you enjoy cooking, try making a meal from the same region the wine is from. After enjoying the fruits of your labor, ask yourself, “Did the wine and meal automatically pair better?” The goal is to find wines and meals that are agreeable to your palate. There are vast numbers of suggestions for pairing wines with certain foods but none of them matter if you don’t find any of them appetizing. Buon appetito!