Wine Pairings

Elevate your palate with these unique wine and food pairings

Tastefully paired

Story By Sheila Paz

Venture beyond the conventional wine pairings, such as white wine with fish or Cabernet Sauvignon with steak, and embark on an enticing and unconventional culinary journey, curated by Ian Mason from Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana. These unique wine and food combinations will take you out of your comfort zone and introduce you to a world of experimental flavors.

A symphony of bubbles

Champagne + steak

Embark on a culinary adventure with the elegant pairing of Champagne and steak. Discover the exquisite harmony between the bready, yeast-like notes of brut Champagne and the succulent flavors of a perfectly seared ribeye. The effervescence of Champagne gracefully cuts through the richness of the steak, creating a harmonious counterbalance that refreshes your palate with every bite, making each morsel taste as delightful as the first.

steak , grilled beef with salad and vegetables

Rosé all the way

Rosé + charcuterie 

Charcuterie boards are perfect for social gatherings, offering an array of finger foods like cheese, fruits, nuts and meats for guests to enjoy. Take your charcuterie experience to new heights by pairing it with sparkling rosé. This choice strikes the ideal balance for both meats and cheeses. The versatility of sparkling rosé, which complements cheese and meats like champagne, elicits distinct flavors from each element on the charcuterie board. This unique pairing will infuse a creative twist into your charcuterie adventure.

Charcuterie board with two glasses of rose

Sweet tames the spice

Spicy foods + riesling

It may sound unusual, but trust the experts – it’s a culinary revelation. Pair a sweet wine, such as Riesling, with your next spicy dish. You’ll discover that the sweetness of Riesling elegantly tames the heat of your meal, especially when indulging in spicy seafood or Korean barbecue. Avoid acidic wines like Sauvignon Blanc, as their acidity clashes with spice and might have you reaching for a glass of milk.

Traditional paella in the fry pan with chicken, tiger prawns, spicy chorizo, lemon and glass of white wine.

Southern fried elegance

Champagne + fried chicken

In the heart of the South, where the art of fried chicken reigns supreme, did you know there’s a wine that complements it perfectly? The acidity of Champagne slices through the delectable grease, while the bubbles accentuate the crispy fried exterior – truly a match made in culinary heaven. The next time you savor a plate of fried chicken, pour yourself a glass of Champagne and savor the magic of this unexpected pairing.

Champagne and Fried Chicken

Stick to your ribs 

Zinfandel + barbecue ribs 

Barbecue ribs are a smoky and flavorful indulgence that demands a wine with bold character. Zinfandel, with its ripe fruit flavors and peppery notes, can stand up to the richness of barbecue sauce and enhance the smokiness of the meat. It’s a pairing that will have you savoring every bite.

Grilled pork ribs with rosemary and red wine on a wooden board. Copy space.

A match made in dessert heaven

Port + dark chocolate

When it comes to dessert, few pairings are as divine as Port wine and dark chocolate. Port’s rich, fortified flavors and dark chocolate’s intense cocoa notes complement each other flawlessly. The sweetness of the Port enhances the bittersweet quality of dark chocolate, creating a decadent union that satisfies your sweet tooth in the most luxurious way. Whether it’s a special occasion or a simple indulgence, this pairing is a dessert lover’s dream come true.

A glass of wine and assorted chocolates on a white plate.

Movie night magic 

Pinot Noir + Popcorn

For a casual movie night, consider pairing buttery popcorn with a glass of Pinot Noir. The popcorn’s saltiness and the wine’s fruit-forward and slightly earthy notes create a surprisingly satisfying combination that makes for an ideal snack while you watch your favorite films.

Pinot Noir and popcorn

Acidity and umami 

Sauvignon Blanc + sushi 

While white wines are often paired with sushi, a Sauvignon Blanc with its crisp, grassy notes brings a new dimension to this pairing. The wine’s acidity and herbal qualities can enhance the flavors of sushi, especially when wasabi is involved, offering a refreshing contrast to the heat.

Delicious sushi served on a plate with white wine

Understanding the basics

Before diving into specific pairings, it’s essential to understand some fundamental principles of wine and food pairing:

Balance is key: The goal is to balance the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. Rich, heavy dishes pair well with full-bodied wines, while lighter dishes are complemented by lighter wines.

Consider the dominant flavors: Match the wine to the most prominent elements in the dish, whether it’s the main ingredient, the sauce or the seasoning.

Acidity and tannins matter: Wines with higher acidity, like Riesling, can cut through the fat of richer dishes. Tannic wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, pair well with protein-rich foods.

Sweetness and spiciness: Sweet wines can balance spicy dishes, and wines with a touch of sweetness can counterbalance salty flavors.

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