604-275-9463 info@grapes2wine.ca
Wine Tasting - Food Pairing


Now that you know how to plan a wine tasting event, let’s make some food pairing decisions. In our last blog post, we covered some simple pairings that you can have your guests bring. Let’s dig a little deeper into matching food with wine.


Pairing Rules

You’ve probably heard that you should drink red wine with meat and white wine with seafood. Let’s throw out the rule book and take a whole new approach to wine tasting and food pairing. Instead, we’re going to balance the wine with the food. For example, a light-bodied wine needs to be balanced with a lighter fare. Similarly, a full-bodied wine needs to be balanced with a richer and heartier fare.

The winemaker will already have gone to great pains to balance the wine. It’s up to you to balance the food so that every sip will be just as the winemaker intended.

Also, we can’t rule out personal preferences. Every person is made up of a different chemistry so one person’s experience may be very different from another person’s.


The Initial Taste

First, taste the wine using the seven S’s – See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, Slurp, Savour and Spit. Be sure to make notes about your experience.


The Initial Pairing

Let’s say your wine and foodie friends have brought a baguette, rice crackers, mini croissants and sea salted corn chips. For the next taste, sip some wine, have a bite of a rice cracker and take another sip. Determine if the cracker made any difference to the taste of the wine. Then try a bite of mini croissant and take another sip. Because of the fat content in the croissant, guests may experience a difference in how the wine tastes. This is because some of the characteristics in the wine will be magnified.

When tasting other wines, experiment with a different combination. For example, salted corn chips and then a baguette with a cheeses spread.

It’s time to make some more notes.


More Substantial Pairings

Next, you can offer more substantial pairings to have with the wine. At a brunch or if you’re not that into cooking, you might want to serve cold foods. For example, pasta salads, cold cuts, cheeses and sushi.

For a dinner and if you love to cook, then by all means, create more substantial pairings. For example, Beef Bourguignon, Poached Salmon, Roast Duck or Vegetarian Ragu Pasta.

As long as the food is in balance, the wine should taste the way the winemaker intended.


Balance of Tastes in the Food

A good balance of tastes in the food means any one of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami isn’t too high. Unbalanced food can throw off the balance of a wine. If the food is in balance, any wine can be enjoyed with it. For food to be balanced, the sweet and umami need to be balanced by salt and acidic tastes.

Foods that are high in sweetness or umami can make a wine taste stronger. It can make the tannins in red wine more astringent or bitter. In other words it increases the sensation of alcohol burn and at the same time, suppresses the lovely fruit flavours in the wine. Foods that are too high in salt and acidity can have the same effect.

The point is, you want to make every bite and every sip enjoyable.


Sharing Experiences

Make sure you get people talking about their own unique experiences with each wine. The same goes for the food. That’s why there’s no right or wrong opinion about the wines or the food. Also, make sure everyone is making notes along the way.



We hope you’re enjoying our new blog series on wine tasting and that what you’ve learned has you intrigued to know more. What more is there to learn? Next month, we’ll give you some ideas about how to carry on the tradition.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels