Types of Wine and Food Pairings
Issue: Sep 2022
Wine is one of the most sophisticated beverages in the world, but it can also be a little intimidating. After all, people make wine in over 70 countries, with a myriad of different grapes, techniques, and styles.
Before we get started demystifying food and wine pairings, it's important to remember that wine can enhance any occasion with or without fare. Once you become more familiar, however, you will be able to create all kinds of combinations for some truly magical culinary experiences. After reading our easy-to-digest guide to food and wine pairings we're sure you'll be hungry to try a few yourself!
Bold Red Wine
Robust red wines are amongst the most popular worldwide, and it’s because they offer endless layers of enjoyment. They’re age-worthy too, so they’re a wonderful way to start building a wine collection.
Full-bodied red wine is made with thick-skinned grapes with plenty of tannins, and this astringent and slightly bitter flavour adds complexity to the wine and leaves a slightly drying sensation in the mouth. The most popular of these red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (Shiraz), Nebbiolo, Tempranillo and Sangiovese.
- Best enjoyed with protein and fat
- Tannins cut through fatty foods
- Recommendation: Thick marbled rib-eye steak, duck confit
Medium-Bodied Red Wine
Not all red grapes are equally tannic, and wines made with medium-bodied grapes such as Merlot, Malbec, Barbera, and Montepulciano varietals are instead fruity. They are considered easy on the palate with a juicy flavour profile, and even those who are not usually wine fans find these vibrant reds charming. Every wine collection needs a few of these approachable reds.
- Low tannin content
- Best paired with lean red meat and some white meats
- Recommendations: fillet mignon, pork ribs, roasted poultry, semi-hard cheese
Elegant Red Wine
While not as common, thin-skinned red varietals such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, the Spanish Mencía and the Austrian St. Laurent are the most well-known. These light to medium-bodied wines are sophisticated and silky, often with refreshing acidity and exceptionally smooth palates.
Pinot Noir is by far the most popular thin-skinned wine grape, and although it’s native to Burgundy, France, it now grows in many cold-climate wine regions worldwide.
- Light reds pair well with meat, fish, and cheese
- Recommendations: pork, veal, poultry, oily fishes such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardine, delicate and washed rind cheeses
Crisp White Wine
Most white wines on the market fall in this category. These are modern-cut white wines made with many different grape varietals that are fermented in stainless-steel tanks and bottled without ageing, which gives them a fresh, crisp, and fruity flavour. Some better-known examples include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, Dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Albariño.
- An all-rounder that pairs well with many dishes
- Particularly delicious with seafood
- Recommendations: sushi, sashimi, white fish, shellfish, tangy goat cheese, mild vinaigrette, and salads
Rich White Wine
Just a few white wine grapes are suitable for oak ageing, and the most popular is Chardonnay. This noble grape creates wines that are creamy and rich, and as a result they often offer a full-body and impressive aromatic complexity. Chardonnay evolve for many years, making it very cellar-worthy. No wine collection is complete without a few fine white Burgundies or Napa Chardonnay!
- Complex notes make this perfect for robust flavours
- Look for the terms “oak aged, reserva or riserva”
- Recommendations: roasted poultry, grilled pork, oily fish, creamy pasta
Rosé is a personable wine style and is made with red grapes but macerated briefly, so the wine is barely tainted with the grape’s pigments. Rosé comes in all sweetness levels, and although semi-sweet pink wine is a tasty summer sipper, the finest wines in the category are dry. You will find Rosé produced in every wine region worldwide, but those from the French Provence are considered amongst the best.
- Compatible with a range of foods
- Pair with light flavours to complement the delicate profile
- Recommendations: fresh and soft cheese, charcuterie, cured meats, seafood, and grilled meats for more robust rosés
The 'pop' of sparkling wine is synonymous with celebrations; all styles of fizz are festive. And although there are several ways to make wine sparkle, the finest sparkling wines are made by either the legally protected méthode Champenoise or the Charmat method (like Prosecco), resulting in noticeably distinct wine styles.
- The acidity of sparkling wine acts as a palate cleanser
- Dry sparkling wine recommendations: caviar, fresh seafood, pâté
- Sweeter sparkling wine recommendations: semi-sweet desserts such as fruit tarts, macarons, and meringues
Dessert wines are typically sweet and sometimes a little syrupy in nature. Still, the finest examples are never cloying as they contain balancing acidity, tartness counters sugar. Within this category, there are white wines such as Moscato and red wines such as Port. And although these wines are delicious when paired with desserts, they need no food to shine and are a stylish way to end a meal pre-digestif!
- The sweetness of these wines pairs nicely with desserts and sweet bites, but some are appropriate for cheeses
- White dessert wine recommendations: honey and fruit desserts
- Red dessert wine: chocolate and coffee desserts
- White and red dessert wine recommendations: blue cheeses
Experiment a little!
When it comes to food and wine pairings, while there might be some loose rules, there’s no right or wrong answer. And just like how food is immensely varied, wine offers something for every taste, budget, and occasion. There’s room for experimentation, and creativity is encouraged.
Now that you know a little more about the most notable wine styles and the food that goes with them, it’s time to find the right pairings for you! Have a few bottles representing different wine styles in your Winebanc unit and be ready to pair all your favourite meals!
With 24/7 secured customer access across 3 locations conveniently located in the heart of Singapore, Winebanc has crafted a private, exclusive, and minimalistic yet elegant wine cellar with conditions optimal for wine preservation and delectation. Visit us at www.winebanc.wine or contact us at 6955 9788 to start your very own wine collection today!