wine pairing basics

Wine Pairing Principles: 4 Basics For Choosing And Serving Wine

who this class is for

Restaurant guests, waiters and restaurant staff

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About this micro-class

Pairing wine requires finesse, intuition, curiosity, and a genuine appreciation for both food and wine.

1. Understanding the Basics of Wine Pairing

Balance is Key

The primary goal of wine pairing is to achieve a harmonious balance between the flavors of the food and the characteristics of the wine.

Intensity Matters

Consider the intensity of both the dish and the wine. Lighter dishes often pair well with lighter wines, while heartier fare demands more robust wines.

2. Basic Principles

Complement or Contrast

Choose wines that either complement or contrast the flavors in the dish. For example, a rich, buttery Chardonnay complements the creaminess of a lobster bisque, while a crisp Sauvignon Blanc contrasts and refreshes the palate.

Tannins and Fats

Tannic red wines pair well with fatty dishes as the tannins help cut through the richness. Think of a bold Cabernet Sauvignon with a succulent steak.

Acidity and Brightness

Wines with high acidity can enhance the flavors of dishes, cutting through richness and refreshing the palate. Consider a vibrant Pinot Grigio with a zesty seafood dish.

3. Service Etiquette

Temperature Matters

In selecting the perfect pairing, consider also the ideal serving temperature of each wine and how it matches the temperature of the food.

In general, it is best to serve white wines chilled and red wines at slightly below room temperature. Sparkling wines should be kept cold.

Glassware

Utilize appropriate glassware for each type of wine. It enhances the aroma and allows for a better appreciation of the wine’s nuances.

4. Interacting with Guests

Confidence is Key

Speak about the wine with confidence, but be open to learning. Share your enthusiasm, and guests will trust your recommendations.

Listen and Learn

Understand the guest’s preferences. Ask questions about their taste preferences, and tailor your suggestions accordingly.

Educate Gently

If a guest seems interested, offer a brief insight into the wine’s origin, varietal, or winemaking process. Be mindful not to overwhelm guests.

Test your knowledge with a quick test and earn a free micro-certificate

Shop for etiquette, behavioral, and contextual signs

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