So you’ve got a special occasion coming up and there’s only one thing on your mind: matching food and wine. Every other box on your checklist has been ticked, but this one daunting task remains. What do you do? Firstly, don’t panic! Matching food and wine is actually quite straightforward. Nobody is going to enforce any out-dated rules and if you have a few options available you can’t go wrong!
However, there are a few places that catch out some diners. If you get caught up in trying to match food and wine, you could miss the overall joy of a beautiful meal in good company. So take heed and read through our list of six common mistakes made when matching food and wine. It could save you from falling into the same traps!
1. Treating your dinner like a scientific experiment won’t return the best results!
There is so much information in circulation about matching food and wine. It’s enough to make anyone question their own knowledge. But you shouldn’t! Remember, this is a meal we are talking about – not a science experiment! Consider this: the worst-case scenario is that you choose a wine that doesn’t mesh perfectly with your meal. The stakes aren’t all that high and your meal is meant to be a relaxing experience, free from explosions and white lab coats. Before you turn your mind to matching food and wine, take a moment to appreciate what it’s all about – good company!
2. Serving a complex wine with a complex dish is a recipe for lost aromas
Have you got your eye on a truly special bottle of red? Does your mouth water when you think about its complex aromas and depth of flavour? If so, you might have found your perfect wine, so don’t mess it up! A common mistake for people trying to enjoy a truly complex bottle of wine is matching it with a complex meal. That might sound like a natural approach to take. But it just doesn’t work that way. Sure, your meal will be far from a disaster. You will actually probably enjoy it.
However, what you mightn’t realise at the time is that you’ve lost a layer or more of flavour and aroma from your wine. When complex wine meets a complex meal, there is often too much going on for your palate to truly take it all in. The complexity and depth of flavour in each component of your meal can become almost overwhelming. So think of that old adage – opposites attract. A simple meal will accompany your complex wine very nicely. It will facilitate all the flavours and complement their complexity. The result is that you get to truly enjoy your wine for what it is: a masterpiece.
3, Are you trying to showcase your culinary prowess? Don’t let the wine take centre stage!
Are you looking to prove once and for all that you are the culinary master of your family? If so, this one is for you. No doubt, as a part of your exquisite dinner, you will be matching food and wine to really seal the deal. But could this actually work against you? The answer is yes. If you are saving a special bottle of wine to go with your meal, you may want to reconsider.
Of course, we are not suggesting that you throw yourself under the bus with a poor bottle of wine either. There is a perfect middle ground; serve simple wines with complex dishes. In the same way that a complex meal can overpower a complex wine, the opposite also applies. If you want your meal to really shine, serve a simple wine that maintains excellent flavours and aromas without getting too ahead of itself. After all, this is your moment in the spotlight!
4. Matching food and wine isn’t all about pairing red wine with red meat
As they say, red wine goes very well with red meat. That is largely indisputable. But doesn’t that leave red wine a little isolated? A lot of people prefer red wine to white, but without a red meat dish, it seems almost impossible to pair the two. Or at least, it did. The unspoken rules of matching food and wine are softening and as well they should. People are breaking the mould when it comes to matching food and wine, and this is exposing some great revelations. One of these is the versatility of red wine. That’s right, you heard correctly! Red wine has freed itself from red meat dishes and is venturing into the world of tomato-based meals. Red wine and tomato are great friends, which opens up a whole new world of red wine enjoyment! Are you excited yet? We certainly are!
5. Sweet white wines are more versatile than you might think
Sweet white wines are one of the more divisive varieties. Wine connoisseurs are rarely confrontational people, but if anything would drive them to an argument it’s probably a sweet white! However, that is something you should disregard entirely. Sweet whites are out there and they have as much of a place in the world of matching food and wine as any other. In fact, they are the perfect accompaniment to more delicate dishes—even entrees such as oysters. So don’t make the mistake of dismissing them – get among the sweet whites and see what works for you.
6. Compromising on your preferences is the biggest mistake of matching food and wine!
This is the biggest mistake of all when it comes to matching food and wine. Never feel as though you have to sacrifice either a good meal or a good wine for the sake of making the perfect pair. Nobody knows your preferences better than you do, so stick to your guns. That’s not to say don’t try new things; rather, you should let your preferences guide you, no matter how whimsical they may be. And whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to be restricted by the conventions of matching food and wine. After all, they are recommendations, not rules!
Do you need more help with matching food and wine? Come dine with us at Moda Restaurant and our team will give you the best advice!