Wine Pairing Rule 2 – Complement or Contrast

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,821
    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 wine with food. Right now, I am going to talk about the second rule of wine and food pairing which is to complement flavors or contrast flavors between the food and the wine. So what I mean by that is if you think about the flavors in the food and the flavors in wine they can either be similar or very opposite. So taking back to the last clip we took a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon and paired it with some chicken that was soaked in barbeque sauce and not only did the weight of the wine match to the weight of the food which was the first rule that we talked about but also the flavors mirrored one another. So the spiciness and the fruitiness of the barbeque sauce complemented the spiciness and the fruitiness in the wine and vice versa.

    So that's an example of compare or striving for similarity between the flavors. On the opposite side though, we can talk about contrasting flavors and to do that I advice you to do another taste test with me. We are going to start by cleansing our pallet from the red wine and the barbeque sauce that we had. So, take a little piece of cracker. I am just going to break off a little piece and take a bite of that and then follow that with a sip of water and the cracker just absorbs all the flavors and the water rinses your mouth out. So now what we are going to do is take some creamy goat cheese. You don't need very much of it and take a little bite, very creamy, little bit sharp. Then we are going to follow that with a small sip of the Sauvignon Blanc Wine that we talked about in the intro. So the high acidity in the Sauvignon Blanc immediately helps wash your mouth out from the creaminess of the cheese and it's a beautiful combination and it's a great example of how opposite textures and flavors can complement one another.

    So another good point to remember is to consider regional cuisine and wine when deciding which wines to select with your food. So there is a reason why Italian wines like Chianti work especially well with Italian foods. The high acidity in the Chianti stands up to the acidity in tomato sauces that you will find on things like spaghetti with meat sauce or lasagna. So it's always good to remember to think about what wines typically go with what foods from different parts of the world. So, that's our second rule for pairing wine with food which is to either complement or contrast flavors and now we are going to talk about the third rule which is paying attention to acidity and sweetness in the wines.