Food and wine pairing rules
First, the main rule: you shall harmonize consistency and balance of the tastes. We will move on pondering these two parameters, consistency and balance, for the dish and the wine we could match together.
Consistency: a dish with a consistent taste, due to its compounding ingredients or to the strength added by the sauce, it needs a very consistent wine. Tasting a strong food flavour, if you want to taste the wine as well, wine itself has to be strong, it has to express a high aromatic load. Then we shall look for a rich and powerful wine with a thickly concentrate perfume and flavour. On the other side, dishes whose consistency is low, dishes that are composed of delicate and light flavours, in order to not be overwhelmed by their pairing wine, needs it to be ethereal, not too tasty, with a light texture. Harmony among food and wine intensities must be absolute.
Balance: in this case the choice has to be made between a balancing contrast or an enhancing harmony. Very salty or spiced meals can be paired with some smooth-sweet wine, which is a way to mitigate through wine the taste’s salting euphoria; otherwise that same food could match a strongly acidic wine, for an enhancing effect on the wine given by the flavourful strength of the food. Through the balancing match, investigating customized pairings between many foods and several peculiar wines, you could record touching tastes and exciting flavoured tails.
Second main rule: you shall respect the gradual progression of consistencies in foods and wines. The stronger wine and/or food shall never be the first: the following courses and wines might be not appreciated because of the strength of what came before. A good meal is a meal whose aromatic intensity goes up growing. In order to choose the peculiar wine variety that will be able to recall fruitiness, the one that will particularly marry the taste of the food you will enjoy, look for the varietal typical fruitiness explained in the next chapter.
Foods and wine
Appetizers: appetizing lunch openings, where not too consistent, can well combine with fresh and fragrant wines, white and rosé, preferably aromatic or, if rich for fruitiness, smooth rather than acidic. Prosecco, or any sparkling wine, is optimal. Rich and tasty appetizers require instead rich wines. Meat, sausages or mushrooms based starters need a red wine or a highly consistent white.
First courses: talking about pasta, its sauce is determinant. In presence of tomatoes, vegetables, legumes, the best match is with white wines, rosé and medium bodied smooth Meat based sauces require red wines, the wine that has been used for cooking could be great. Fish based sauces again prefer white wines; some robust recipes, even if based on seafood, may require a red wine. Potato gnocchi, for their chewy texture can be finely matched with red wines. Broths and soups are better paired with a more or less consistent white wine, but if there is meat in the soup than even a red wine may be good. Casseroles and timbales, homemade traditional pasta dishes, they all require consistency, from red or white wines. Risotto shall be considered as pasta, than again it is the sauce what determines the wine pairing. First courses with strong aromas will require wines whose aromatic load shall be as great.
Meat: red wines whose intensity shall increase together with the greasiness and aromatic intensity of the recipe. White meat can be combined with some superiorly consistent white wines.
Seafood: white wines are the best, with the eventual possibility, for those savoury and sauced recipes, to find some good pairing with mildly consistent red wines.
Cold cuts: cooked cured meats require red wines; seasoned cold cuts preferably pair with rosé and red wines, preferably sparkling; dry sausages will match medium-bodied and greasy white wines.
Ham: Soft and mellow white wines.
Eggs: rich and soft white wines, as well as not bitter red wines.
Omelettes: aromatic white wines.
Cheese: dairy products pair with whites; increasing toughness and flavour concentration will require from smooth and very greasy white wines, to reds, to sweet and sweeter wines, for cheese’s main pairing. Cheese’s savoury and spicy sweetness finds in sweet wines its perfect and most pleasant companion.
Salads: no wine matches a salad if it is seasoned with vinegar or lemon; if only oil is used, aromatic white wines with a medium consistency shall be fine.
Dessert (Cakes and ice creams): sweet wines, still or sparkling, white or red wines. You shall care for the right match between the fruit aroma offered by the wine and the fruit eventually used among the dessert’s ingredients (pineapple cake with a Traminer, pear with a Pinot Bianco, etc.). The varietal typical fruitiness, as explained in the next chapter, may be useful. Greasy desserts, or the very sweet ones, require as greasy and as sweet wines. Pastries and creams need wines with a low extractive load.
Fresh fruit: soft white wines, sweet, rosé, sparkling wines, it might be perfect a Moscato d’Asti. Pairing wines shall never be evolved or old ones: their un-freshness would be highlighted by your fruit’s freshness.
Dried fruits: from evolved white wines to consistent red wines with chestnuts.
No wine matches fruit salads if there is no sugar in them: acidity and bitterness will not find any enjoyable pairing.