Wine is food. Plain and simple. The intent of wine is a complimentary beverage to food which enhances both ends of the equation.
There are two approaches to pairing wine with your meal; congruent and complementary.
Congruent wine pairing means the flavors are more in line with each other. An example is sweet with sweet such as a late harvest Reisling or Port with a chocolate mousse. Another example of congruent pairing is acidic wines such as Italian reds from Sicily that are paired with tomato-based sauces which also have natural acid. The pairing really makes the sauce shine and mellows the wine out nicely.
Complimentary pairing basically seeks to enhance opposite flavor profiles. In one example, a chocolate dessert paired with Cabernet Sauvignon which brings it tannins to the table. The tannins are what can pucker your mouth a bit when you drink wine. This pairing softens and tannins and enriches the chocolate. Another example of complementary pairing is offsetting the richness of an alfredo sauce or strong cheese with the light acidity of a nice Sauvignon Blanc. This pairing is quite remarkable and really delivers an elevated food and wine experience. Give it a try.
Just remember, there is a wine for everyone and every wine has a place at the table. Your job is to explore the possibilities. Cheers!
By: Norbert Meda