Wine Pairing Rule 1 – Match Weights of Food & Wine

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,812
    WineSmith owner Neil Smith shows how to pair wine and food to contrast and to complement.

    Neil Smith: Hi, My name is Neil Smith with WineSmith and today, I am showing you how to pair wines with food. Right now, I am going to talk about the first rule which is the most important and that's to match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. The reason why this is an important rule is because you don't want the wine to overwhelm the food. So if you think about something like a very lightly prepared fish, like a Tilapia that has been baked in the oven, you wouldn't want to pair that with something very heavy like a Cabernet Sauvignon because the weight of the wine will overwhelm the food.

    So let's illustrate this point by doing another taste test. So we are going to use the grilled chicken and the barbeque sauce and the same Cabernet that we talked about in the intro and what I want you to do is take a bite of the chicken first, just by itself, small bite. Very simple, just a grilled chicken breast, not much flavor, very light and then take a sip of the Cabernet. It immediately washes away any of the flavor from the chicken. Now let's do another taste test. Take another piece of the same chicken and now dip it thoroughly in the barbeque sauce to get it covered. Take another bite. Then immediately take another sip of the wine. The wine actually stands up to the barbeque sauce and the barbeque sauce stands up to the wine. So you can see how something like a sauce or a side item with your meal can really effect which wine you would want to choose to pair with it. So chicken breast by itself, perhaps a lighter white wine or a very light red wine like Pino Noir, but if you are going to have it with barbeque sauce or some other kind of heavy sauce, you might do a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz or a Zinfandel or something like that. So that's an example of the first rule of pairing wine with food which is to match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. Now we are going to talk about the second rule of food and wine pairing which is to either complement the flavors or contrast the flavors when pairing wine with food.