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5 Basic Food and Wine Pairing Concepts

5 Basic Food and Wine Pairing Concepts


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Never be fooled by food and wine pairings again

We’re heading full steam into the holiday season, the time of year most people find themselves in front of seemingly endless shelves of wine wondering what to buy.

You know what you like, that’s not the problem, it’s trying to figure out what to bring to a dinner party or what to serve the in-laws or friends who look up to you as the wine guy or gal.

Relax, it’s not all that difficult. Just remember some simple guidelines and you’ll be fine. The "art" of pairing wine and food has been totally overblown by the wine and food industry. It’s really not that hard, the guidelines you should remember are simply common sense. Remember these and get ready to rock your next party with wine pairing made simple.

Click here for five simple wine pairing tips.

— Gregory Del Piaz, Snooth


5 Best Food and Drink Pairings

Everyone has their own favorites when it comes to washing down a meal, whether it's that ice cold bottle of Japanese beer with your California roll, a frosty mug of icy soda to go with your pepperoni pizza or the classic milk and cookies combination.

Selecting a beverage whose qualities complement a dish can kick up subtle elements of flavor that you didn't even know existed. But how do you get started? The trick is in identifying the key flavors in your food and pairing it with those in your beverage. This can take some practice, but to get you started, here are some classic food and drink pairings that come highly recommended.

Pairing wine with food is all about finding one of the four basic tastes -- sweet, salty, sour or bitter -- in a dish and finding a wine that fits with it, either by having similar qualities or by contrasting them properly. Red wine is commonly paired with beef, and for a good reason. Cabernet sauvignon, for example, is a very bold wine with flavors of black currant, plum, cherry and spice. The boldness of the cabernet pairs perfectly with rich, dark meats.

For a winning pairing, try a flavorful cabernet with some braised beef short ribs and grilled vegetables. In fact, you can even use cabernet in your short rib recipe for the ultimate pairing experience. If you're not a fan of the cabernet sauvignon, you might also try a merlot or pinot noir with your beef dish.

Wine and cheese is a classic combo for parties, picnics and intimate gatherings. A good cheese pairing is known to smooth out the wine and actually enhance its flavor. There are thousands of cheeses and wines, leading to a seemingly limitless number of potential combinations. To avoid being intimidated by this notion, learn just a couple of basics and then explore some tastes on your own.

Red wine generally matches well with hard cheese, while white does well with the soft ones. But there are many exceptions here -- cabernet with brie is a nice match, as is chardonnay with mild cheddar. Try some different pairings to see what satisfies your taste buds. Also, if you're still not sure where to start, you might look for free wine and cheese pairing classes at your local wine shop or cooking supply store.

While white wine has undergone some innovative changes when it comes to pairing in recent years, it has traditionally been paired with fish and other kinds of seafood. Chardonnay is a popular white wine that comes in a variety of different flavor profiles. It's typically a little sweeter than a dry pinot grigio, for instance, and tastes excellent with seafood.

For a great menu to go with your chardonnay, pair it with a mild cheddar for a light first bite. Crab cakes or oysters make a great appetizer pairing, and you can follow that with a main course of fish or shrimp. Pasta with a light cream sauce can be served as a side dish or as part of the main entrée. If you're not a fan of chardonnay, a light sauvignon blanc or a dry riesling also would match well with seafood dishes.

Pairing spirits with food isn't limited to wine. There's also a movement in which great chefs are pairing some of their menu items with micro-brewed beers. Much like wine, craft beers are often known for their complex and bold flavors. The craft brewers use everything from fruit to chocolate and coffee in their recipes, and these flavors can match well with the right food.

Almost any kind of ale, from ambers to porters, is great with most beef recipes. Pilsners and lagers are typically paired with pork and poultry. A wide range, from light pilsners to wheat beers and even dark stouts, can be paired with seafood.

Most folks know a little bit about pairing their favorite entrées with the right variety of red or white wine, but they might be a little more in the dark when the dessert menu rolls around. Chocolate desserts are a staple for many and the flavor can be enhanced if you pair it with a vintage port wine. Cognac (a spirit made from distilled wine) and bordeaux also taste good with chocolate recipes. Dark chocolates go well with the softer flavor of a merlot, and desserts combining chocolate with berries can be paired with the rich, deep flavors of a cabernet sauvignon.

Cheesecake is a tough match, but your best bet is a dry or sweet riesling. This is also a good wine to pair with any kind of fruit tart, pie or turnover. When in doubt, serve some champagne or sparkling wine -- they should go with most any dessert recipe.

To learn even more about how to match drinks to your meal, follow the links on the next page.


Instant Pot Risotto with Pan Seared Scallops

Who doesn’t love a risotto? It might be a tricky dish to get right , but the Instant Pot means consistent results and the perfect rice, every time. The total cooking time for this risotto is just 13 minutes (and that includes your prep!). You’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of arborio rice
  • 0.25 cups of white wine
  • 6 scallops (seared)
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • Half of 1 chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • Salt & black pepper for seasoning

Select the Saute function before adding oil. Once heated, add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook for around two minutes until the onion turns a nice golden color.

Mix the rice in well before adding the white wine. Cook until the wine is totally absorbed. Then add the vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper before sealing the lid, switching to Manual setting and cooking at high pressure for six minutes. Use a quick pressure release before stirring in the melted butter and serving the risotto with the seared scallops.

This dish deserves a lovely sauvignon blanc to go with it and we’ve selected Domaine Pascal Balland Sancerre – an aromatic, medium-bodied bottle from the Loire Valley.


Four Factors on Pairing Food and Wine to Ponder

If, like most people, you have a small number of wines that are your favorites and don’t do much experimenting beyond those few bottles, try pairing different varieties of wine with the meals you cook to understand the basics of wine tasting. The acidity, body, aromas, and flavors of wine are all factors to consider when searching for one to match a specific dish. These attributes mean different thing to different palates.

Acid: Sour and sharp notes of the wine will determine the acidity level. This is much like biting into a super sour apple feels on the palate as it hits your tongue with a sharp sensation.

Body: The body of the wine is established by the weight and mouthfeel when you taste it. It can be light, also called thin, or it can be heavy, creamy even oily. As with all wine attributes, the body is an opinion of the taster.

Aroma: The aroma, or bouquet, of wine, is about the smell. The nose of wine can be one or two notes or a complex mix of aromas that blend and change as the wine is swirled and exposed to air. Try to identify earthy, floral, fruity, and nutty notes, among many others.

Flavor: The flavor of the wine is mostly determined by its aromas what we smell is what we taste which will be unrelated to the smell. For example, a wine may have a light, fruity bouquet, or deep, earthy flavors. You are likely to find wines with nutty aromas that become coffee-chocolate notes of flavor.


How to Match Wine with Food

Good news: When matching food and wine, you don’t have to learn complicated systems for selecting the right bottle to enhance what you're eating. This is not rocket science. A few simple guidelines will help you make successful wine-and-food pairings.

Of course, it’s fun to experiment and fine-tune, and with experience you may be able to create spectacular matches that dramatically improve both the dish and the wine. But save those efforts for special occasions and special wines.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

The three most important rules when it comes to wine-and-food pairing are:

Drink and eat what you like

Choose a wine that you would want to drink by itself, rather than hoping a food match will improve a wine made in a style you don’t like. That way, even if the pairing isn’t perfect, you will still enjoy what you’re drinking at worst, you might need a sip of water or bite of bread between the dish and the glass. The same holds true for the food: After all, if you detest liver, there is no wine pairing on Earth that will make it work for you.

Look for balance

Consider the weight—or body, or richness—of both the food and the wine. The wine and the dish should be equal partners, with neither overwhelming the other. If you balance the two by weight, you raise the odds dramatically that the pairing will succeed. This is the secret behind many classic wine-and-food matches.

There’s a fair amount of instinct to this. Hearty food needs a hearty wine. Cabernet Sauvignon complements grilled lamb chops because they’re equally vigorous the dish would run roughshod over a crisp white wine. In contrast, a light Soave washes down a subtly flavored poached fish because they are equals in delicacy.

How do you determine weight? For the food, fat—including what comes from the cooking method and the sauce—is the main contributor. (Note how a salad with blue cheese dressing feels heavier than one with citrus vinaigrette, as does fried chicken versus poached.)

For a wine, you can get clues from the color, grape variety and alcohol level, along with the winemaking techniques and the region’s climate. (Wines with less than 12 percent alcohol tend to be lighter-bodied those with more than 14 percent are heavier.) If you’re not familiar with a wine, consult our lists below.

Match the wine to the most prominent element in the dish

This is critical to fine-tuning wine pairings. Identify the dominant character in the dish often it's the sauce, seasonings or cooking method, rather than the main ingredient. Consider two different chicken dishes: Chicken Marsala, with its browned surface and a sauce of dark wine and mushrooms, versus a chicken breast poached in a creamy lemon sauce. The caramelized, earthy flavors of the former tilt it toward a soft, supple red, while the simplicity and citrus flavors of the latter call for a fresh white.

GETTING MORE ADVANCED

Once you’ve considered these three important rules, you can get more detailed if you want and consider other subtleties of the wine.

First it’s useful to understand the components from the grapes that make up a wine’s structure: the fruit flavors and sugar, which give wines a soft feel in the mouth, and the acidity and tannins, which give wines a sensation of firmness. And of course, there’s the alcohol, which can feel softer in smaller amounts, harder in higher ones.

Red wines are distinct from whites in two main ways: tannins and flavors. Tannins are compounds that provide structure and texture to a wine they’re responsible for that astringent sensation you feel on the sides of your cheeks, much like when you drink a strong cup of tea. Many red wines have tannins few white wines do, unless they have spent extensive time in oak barrels.

White and red wines share many common aromas and flavors both can be spicy, buttery, leathery, earthy or floral. But the apple, pear and citrus flavors in many white wines seldom show up in reds, and the dark currant, cherry and plum flavors of red grapes usually do not appear in whites.

Here are some other pairing principles to consider:

Structure and texture matter

Ideally, a wine’s components are in balance, but you can affect that balance, for better or worse, with the food pairing. Elements in a dish can accentuate or diminish the acidity and sweetness of a wine, and the bitterness of its tannins.

High levels of acidic ingredients, such as lemon or vinegar, for example, benefit high-acid wines by making them feel softer and rounder in comparison. On the other hand, tart food can turn balanced wines flabby.

Sweetness on the plate can make a dry wine taste sour, but pairs well with a bit of sweetness in the wine as long as a wine balances its sugar with enough natural acidity (such as German Rieslings and demi-sec Champagnes), it can work very well with many dishes.

Tannins interact with fats, salt and spicy flavors. Rich, fatty dishes such as steak diminish the perception of tannins, making a robust wine such as a Cabernet seem smoother, as do lightly salty foods like Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. However, very salty foods increase the perception of tannins and can make a red wine seem harsh and astringent salt likewise accentuates the heat of a high-alcohol wine. Very spicy flavors also tend to react badly with tannins and high alcohol, making the wines feel hotter such dishes fare better with fruity or lightly sweet wines.

Look for flavor links

This is where pairing can be endless fun. The aromatics of wine often remind us of foods such as fruits, herbs, spices and butter. You can create a good match by including ingredients in a dish that echo—and therefore emphasize—the aromas and flavors in a wine. For a Cabernet, for example, currants in a dish may bring out the wine’s characteristic dark fruit flavors, while a pinch of sage could highlight hints of herbs.

On the other hand, similar flavors can have a “cancellation effect”—balancing each other out so that other aspects of a wine come out more strongly. Serving earthy mushrooms with an earthy red might end up giving more prominence to the wine’s fruit character.

Give consideration to age

Aged wines present a different set of textures and flavors. As a wine matures, the power of youth eventually subsides the tannins soften, and the wine may become more delicate and graceful. Fresh fruit flavors may give way to earthy and savory notes, as the wine takes on more complex, secondary characteristics. When choosing dishes for older wines, tone down the richness and big flavors and look for simpler fare that allows the nuances to shine through. For example, rather than a grilled, spice-rubbed steak with an older Cabernet, try lamb braised for hours in stock.

Entire books have been written on the subject of food-and-wine pairing, and you can have a lifetime of fun experimenting with different combinations. If you’d like to learn more, become a WineSpectator.com member.

WEIGHING YOUR OPTIONS: LISTS OF WINES BY BODY

Matching by weight is the foundation of the old rule about white wine with fish and red wine with meat. That made perfect sense in the days when white wines were mostly light and fruity and red wines were mostly tannic and weighty. But today, color-coding does not always work.

Like human beings, wines come in all dimensions. To match them with food, it’s useful to know where they fit in a spectrum, with the lightest wines at one end and fuller-bodied wines toward the other end. For perspective, we offer the following lists of commonly encountered wines.

OK, purists, you’re right: Some Champagnes are more delicate than some Rieslings, and some Sauvignon Blancs are bigger than some Chardonnays, but we’re painting with broad strokes here. When you’re searching for a light wine to go with dinner, pick one from a category at the top of the list. When you want a bigger wine, look toward the end.

To make your own classic matches, start off on the traditional paths and then deviate a little. Don’t get stuck on Cabernet with red meats—look up and down the list and try Zinfandel or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Instead of Burgundy or Pinot Noir with sautéed mushrooms, try a Barbera or a red Bordeaux. That’s the way to put a little variety into your wine life without straying too far from the original purpose.


The 5-Step Guide to Wine Pairing Like a Pro

If you're still serving white wine with fish and red wine with meat, you're missing out on all the fun.

The old adage comes from a time when we had access, more or less, to two styles of wine: light-bodied whites and full-bodied reds. But nowadays, a multitude of available wine styles mean that pairings have become a lot more exciting.

So feel free to experiment it's part of the fun. Check out our recipes and tips, and start pairing like a pro:

Full-bodied or not so much? Wine, just like food, is all about balance, so start by matching the weight of the wine with the weight of the dish. Lighter fish dishes (like Paul Bartolotta's salt-crusted branzino) pair well with crisp, light-bodied white wines whereas heavier, oilier varieties, like salmon, are often a great match for fuller bodied, buttery Chardonnays and in many cases, light-bodied reds like Pinot Noir.

Acidity is your friend. High-acid wines are naturally food-friendly. They can cut through the richness in oily dishes like this smaltz-fried potato Rösti (try it with a crisp New World sparkler) and can mirror the citrusy flavors in vinaigrette. And don't forget about reds: Pair characteristically juicy, high-acid wines, like Italian Barbera, with rich, tomato-based dishes like pappardelle al ragu.

Don't forget texture. It might seem counterintuitive to the wine newbie, but a wine's texture--also called "mouth feel"--is an important consideration in pairing. White wines tend to have varying levels of viscosity (the slightly viscous, almost oily texture of this Rotgipfler, for example, makes it a match for blue cheese), whereas in reds, it's all about tannin.

Responsible for that notorious drying effect, tannins are actually physical, organic elements in wine that are attracted to the proteins in your mouth that mothball-like sensation is the tannin actually sticking to your teeth and tongue. But follow that sip of Cabernet with a bite of protein-rich steak or fatty cheese and it'll sweep the tannins away, sort of like a palate cleanser.

Consider your flavors. Don't pay too much attention to tasting notes here. Think about flavors in broad terms instead. Earthy varietals, like Pinot Noir, tend to work well with mushrooms (though these morel mushroom toasts pair equally well with a characteristically funky Chenin Blanc). For a very herbaceous dish, like this burrata topped with fresh parsley and basil, try a white wine with green, grassy flavors, like a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

Another tip? Wines with a little bit of residual sugar (labeled "off-dry" or "demi-sec") can help to tame the heat in spicier dishes, like these shrimp toasts with sweet chile sauce or this Thai-style peanut, pork and shrimp dip. Pair them with an off-dry Riesling and taste for yourself.

What grows together goes together. A region's wine will often match its food, so it's hard to go wrong pairing a classic Piedmontese polenta with mushrooms and chestnuts with a bottle of the region's Roero Arneis. Equally delicious? A traditional Catalan romesco spooned over grilled baby leeks and served with a bottle of Cava, Catalonia's famous sparkler.


5 Basic Food and Wine Pairing Concepts - Recipes

The Feel-Good Guide to Sports, Travel, Shopping & Entertainment

The rules for wine pairing have relaxed a bit, but the fact remains that certain flavors of food and wine mix better together than others.

While it isn't unheard of to have a white wine with meat or a red wine with fish or seafood, you don't want to serve a very strong tasting wine with a delicate entree, or the other way around.

The wine and the food should complement each other, not do battle in your mouth. So how can you tell if a wine will go well with a certain meal?

It's not rocket science, but it is science -- coupled with creativity and ones own taste and perception.

Bold reds are the classic match for red meats, but most cheeses can also usually soften the tannins in a rich red wine making a Merlot or a Shiraz seem more fruity.

Don't pair hearty red, high-alcohol wines with spicy foods, however, or you may find the spice intensified -- leading to an explosion in your mouth that is memorable -- but certainly not in a good way!

What about wine with turkey dinner? As with any meal that combines a banquet of flavors (also see wine with Indian food) a nice middle-of-the-road wine is called for. What wines are guaranteed to play nice with both sweet cranberry sauce and herb stuffing? They include medium dry to sweet light alcohol wines, such as a German Reisling or Gewurztraminer. Sparkling wines and champagne are also good choices along with an Italian Zinfandel or a non-threatening rosé.

Of course, these are only the basic tenets of wine and food pairing. The ONLY way to find out what food best pairs with wine your serving is by . experimenting! That's what wine tastings are for, and helps you and your fellow wine enthusiasts come together to discuss exactly what works, and what doesn't. Despite the occasional failure, some unexpected pairings (like uptown Châteauneuf-du-Pape, for example, and neighborhood pizza) can turn out to be, as one wine taster recently admitted, "the greatest invention since chocolate and peanut butter".

More about wine & food pairing around the Web:

Just up ahead, check out more advice at top sites on the subject to help explain what foods pair well with which wines and why, with reviews of some combinations for you to use as a basis for your own selections and menu planning.


The secrets of matching Indian food with wine
- Are you serving Indian food and just about given up on finding wines to match? You're in good company with the tasters in this article, but they do find several solutions that will cool your curry without ruining your meal. Also check out several recipes for Indian favorites.

What to Drink with Japanese Food - A report on Japanese sake and suggested light-bodied Chardonnays, Sauvingon Blancs and Rieslings, from the Wine Spectator.

How to pair wine with Chinese food - Check out this guide to matching the right wine with Cantonese, Szechuan, and other Chinese dishes.


Top pairings

The best wine to pair with appetizers and hors d'oeuvres rather depends on whether they precede a meal, as is traditional, or, as is the way now, actually ARE the meal. We all seem to enjoy grazing these days.

The challenge is that people tend to serve multiple appetizers at once, each with contrasting flavors and massive variety: cold, hot, heavy, fresh, spicy, and often quite salty. The wines you choose should be palate-cleansing as much as quaffable.

Chances are too, you&rsquore having company, so you&rsquoll also want to pick crowd-pleasing wines that all your friends will enjoy.

A few general guidelines for pairing wine with appetizers:

Sparkling wine

A good choice if the appetizers are performing their traditional role as pre-meal nibbles - particularly good with anything crisp, crunchy or deep-fried. Prosecco will be most people's favourite these days though there are many other good sparkling wines including cava, franciacorta and, of course champagne.

Think fresh, unoaked whites rather than a rich white like chardonnay which is better with a meal. Sauvignon blanc is generally popular but a crisp Italian white like pinot grigio or gavi generally go down well too especially with Italian antipasti. And although many people think they don't like riesling in practice they generally do, especially with spicy snacks. If you enjoy it, go for it!

More challenging as although many people like full-bodied reds like cabernet sauvignon and shiraz they can be a bit heavy at the start of the evening. Think more in terms of medium-bodied reds like pinot noir and merlot and lighter styles of zinfandel.

A great option and not just for summer. Dy rosés from Provence and elsewhere in Southern France are hugely versatile and can stand up to big flavours. A good choice for charcuterie, cheese and tapas.

Not for everyone but if you're into tapas you can't beat a chilled fino or manzanilla sherry. I'd offer the choice of one or two other wines - either white, rosé or red - too though

Wine pairings for popular appetizers

If you are only serving one appetizer here's the type of wine to look for:

Artichokes are tricky and can make wine seem sweeter than it is so make sure your wine is bone dry. Italian whites such as pinot grigio work well or try a chilled fino sherry.

Prosecco, rosé, or an off-dry riesling.

Not only oniony but creamy too. A citrussy sauvignon works well or try a fresh, young chenin blanc

Go for a drier style of prosecco or a Gavi de Gavi.

Bread encased hot-dogs, a Super Bowl Party classic which may steer you towards a beer. Wine-wise I'd be inclined to go for a light, fruity pinot noir.

Pickles need something light, crisp, and fruity to handle the acidity. A sharply flavoured white like a picpoul or pinot grigio should do the trick. Or a dry riesling.

A soft juicy red like a merlot or a sauvignon blanc both work well

Bruschetta and crostini

The classic bruschetta is topped with fresh tomatoes with which you could drink a dry Italian white like pinot grigio or a red like Chianti. Richer toppings like chicken livers are better with a red like a Chianti or Barbera.

Nachos

Again natural beer food but given the melty cheese I'd go for a medium-bodied fruity red rather than a white if you fancy a glass of vino. Merlot or zinfandel would both hit the spot.

Antipasti

With Italian style antipasti I'd generally choose a dry Italian white like a pinot grigio or verdicchio but dry Provençal-style rosé also works really well. As do light Italian reds like Valpolicella, Teroldego and Refosco particularly if your antipasti predominantly consists of cold meats.

Smoked salmon

Champagne (or other champagne-like sparkling wine) is the classic pairing but there are many other options including sauvignon blanc as you can see from this post.

What's not to like about this indulgent snack? Garlic goes really well with sauvignon blanc so you can happily serve that or a juicy red like zinfandel for that matter. And personally I wouldn't be averse to a glass of sparkling wine.

You might also find these posts useful:

Regular contributor Monica Shaw writes mainly about outdoor living and healthy eating. You can find her websites at smarterfitter.com and eatsleepwild.com.

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Comments: 1 (Add)

Slightly confused by the US focus of the article. East of the Atlantic hors d'oeuvres have always been the first part of the meal, the nibbly things are canapés or aperitifs. And the actual foods mentioned - artichoke and spinach dip, buffalo wings, cheese balls, fried pickles, devilled eggs very US


August's wine list: 5 perfect food and wine pairings

Liven up dinner with a perfect wine pairing, hand-picked for you by sommelier Jamie Drummond.

By Chatelaine Updated August 9, 2014

Food and wine pairings. Photo, iStock.

From a smoky-sweet chardonnay to crisp German riesling, these are the wines to pair with this month’s dinner recipes.

Beringer Chardonnay, California, $20.

Exotic peach aromas echo the fruit in this meal. Meanwhile, citrus, a smoky-sweet oak spice and rich summer fruit flavours balance the pairing.

Bollini Pinot Grigio, Italy, $19.

Hailing from the higher altitudes of Trentino, Italy, this fresh white marries ripe pear, honey, nuts and spice with a good snap of acidity. It’s a perfect match with this fruity salad.

13th Street Detour Riesling/Chardonnay, Ontario, $17.

Ontario is currently producing some excellent and unusual blended wines, like this riesling and chardonnay combo. Its subtle lemon, lime and apricot flavours highlight any salty-spicy dish.

Carl Reh Riesling Kabinett, Germany, $12.

Due to this dish’s acidity and heat, matching a wine to it can be a bit tricky. But this crisp German riesling, with just a touch of sweetness and aromatics of Granny Smith apples and limes, complements it perfectly.

Flat Rock Cellars Unplugged Chardonnay, Ontario, $17.

This unadorned chardonnay (made without the use of oak barrels) is extremely food-friendly. Reminiscent of pears, apples and white flowers, it pairs well with the nuts and citrus in this salad.


Secret #5: Back to the Land

The last secret to a killer food and wine union is actually almost as old as wine itself. For centuries people have made wine to accompany the traditional dishes of their land and you can do the same with great success.

Think of Italy. A lot of Italian dishes use tomatoes &ndash like pizzas and pastas &ndash so it makes sense that these foods would go well with Italian wines like Chianti, Primitivo, or Valpolicella. Similarly, an Argentinean Malbec is an obvious choice for a Churrasco steak &ndash and it even works with a good old fashioned American burger and a California Cabernet!

So don&rsquot forget, the ultimate food and wine pairing is when the flavors of both are good on their own, but together they make a blockbuster combination and accentuate the best in each other. Food and wine pairing doesn&rsquot need to be complicated or confusing, so next time you&rsquore planning on opening a bottle of wine with your food (and why wouldn&rsquot you?), use these 5 tips to find a great match.

And whatever you do, remember that you can&rsquot get it wrong &ndash so just have fun!

Tara Devon O&rsquoLeary is a sommelier, author of the popular blog WinePassionista.com, and co-host of the online wine show &ldquoThe Punch Down.&rdquo Tara holds a Diploma certification from the world-renowned Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) where she is also a Certified Educator. She is accredited by the Society of Wine Educators as a Certified Specialist of Wine, is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers, and has served as judge at major annual international wine competitions. Tara's advice is delivered with a dash of flair, heaps of enthusiasm, and zero snobbery.


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