You may have noticed that we've begun to incorporate pairing suggestions with some of our products, beginning with our red meats, like a Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon by Caymus with our Chuck Roast (one of Bryce's favorites). We believe it's fairly common knowledge that red wines go well with red meat and, on the flip side, it's common for white wines to be paired with lighter meats, especially fish. And while grabbing any wine willy nilly is likely to enhance your dining experience, we think you'll find the art of intentional pairing to be quite rewarding. It certainly causes us to be more present in the dining moment, and remain more conscious of the flavor profiles for the entire meal. We thought some of you may not be convinced right off the bat so we decided to bring science and some beginner tips to the table to get you started.
First, off, why red with red and white with white?
Red wines tend to be heavier in body and more robust in taste than white wine. The same can be said about red and white meat. Thus, if you were to pair red wine with tilapia, there's a good chance you'll see the flavors of the tilapia overpowered and wiped out by the red wine. It doesn't get much more complicated than that, at least at the early beginners level. If you're already on board with the red-red/white-white concept, then here are some additional tips and pairings that may interest you.
The GOLDEN RULE: Taste is Subjective
Always remember what you taste is personal. If a combination pleases you then it is a good choice.
Focus on the Dominant Flavors
While we just took up your time going on and on about pairing with meats, it's important to remember that the meat may not always be the dominant flavor of the dish. Did you make a crazy good, crazy flavorful sauce to go with it? There's your pairing target!
When in Doubt, Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is notorious for having a light-medium body. It's sort of in the middle on the whole spectrum which helps it go with many foods.
More Sweet, More Acidic
This one is a simple and generic, but highly effective trick that's likely to take your pairing ability and experience to the next level. The wine should [almost] always be more acidic and sweeter than the food.
Spice High, Alcohol Content Low
Alcohol amplifies the oils that make spicy food hot. Stick to wines that are low in alcohol, such as off-dry German Rieslings.
Smoke with Oak
Oaked wines are often more intense, and therefore they can overwhelm the flavors in a dish. By pairing them with foods that match that intensity, you'll find the strong oak notes suddenly tamed and the fruit flavors of the wine will be brought out instead.
All the Things
Finally, here's a nice all-around reference to help you figure this all out. As a reminder though, the most important rule is to do what you like and have fun. Cheers!