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10 Important Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairings

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

Pairing wine with your favorite foods can lead to some of your most memorable culinary experiences. A delicious meal with your favorite wine- What can be better! Wherever I have met South Africans across the country and internationaly, the fondness for South African wine is unilateral.



Pairing your favorite foods with wine is one of those very memorable combinations that we often remember for years to come. You may have tried to pair them in the past, and maybe it didn’t turn out as well as expected. But there is also the pressures of combing the right food and when inviting guests to lunch or hosting a donner party. If the food and wine parings are not done correctly, you might ruin your entire evening. Of course we often go with old tried and tested combinations but you might get to the point where you ready to become and bit more adventurous. There are a few simle rules to follow to bring out the finest flavors from your pairing. 


Here are some rules of thumb we have compiled over the years, for combining wine and food.


1. Food nd wine quality should be the same

Matching the quality and grade of your food and wine is very important. Exquisite dishes work well with high-quality wines for special occasions. However, daily, normal matching can work best with simple wines.


2. Nutralise fatty foods with the right wine

Some meals, often those wth red meats, obtains their flavors from fat. But when you serve it together with wine, ensure to neutralize it. When serving foods with high fat content, remember to purchase wine with a high acid or tannin content. When serving lighter dishes, use wines with higher acidity, such as Pinot Noir or Riesling. But when serving heavier dishes, pair them with low acidity wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.


3. Wine and food from the same region often goes together

Wines and foods from the same region often go well together. After all, most are designed to go together. If you want to go for a regional dish, look out for some regional wine. With that, you can enjoy it with more confidence.


4. The right with spice can be very nice

Spices have a tickling sensation on the tongue. Spicy foods pair well with a wine that is a little sweet. That sweetness not only neutralizes the heat of your food but also enhances the flavores. Avoid wines with a lot of tannins as they might irritate the taste buds when servied with spiece.



5. Considder the intensity of both food and wine

To bring out the best flavors of your food and wine, consider the power and intensity of both. As such, always pair heavy dishes with heavy wines. Similarly, soft wines go well with soft dishes, robust dishes with robust wines, and subtle dishes with more subtle wines.


6. Know how to draw out the best flavors

The nature of your palate can change the flavor of foods substantially. This implies that it can either break up or crete combinations. If you are well-informed about flavoring and how it works, you can create amazing food-wine pairing. Usually, the sour and salty flavored foods complement well with wines. But bitter, savory, or sweet flavors might ruin your meal completely.


7. Wine should martch as many of the food ingreients as posisble

Many people don’t check all ingredients when choosing wines. But you should if you want to have the best pairing. Besides protein, you should consider the vegetables, starch, sauce, and other ingredients in your food to make the best combination.


8. Dessert wines ought to be sweeter

The rule behind pairing a dessert with dessert wine is the fact that the wine is always sweeter. Doing that helps to achieve a balance between the sweetness elements instead of emphasizing the acidity.


9. Combine flavors with traits

Mirroring foods and wines with similar traits is an effortless way of correlating the two. For instance, if you have peppery foods, choose a wine with peppery traits such as Zinfandel.


10. Sometimes its better to ust experiement

Sometimes, all you need to do is forget about the rules and instead attempt new experiments. You may unknowingly end up with some amazing pairings. You just need to ensure the pairing is decent.


Whatever your food tastes, there is probably a few good South African wines that is likely to go with it.


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