Wine and Food Recipes
The idea of putting wine in the pan or pouring it over food might seem obvious, but these recipes go way beyond just some splashes. They make wine a key ingredient in layering tons of complex flavor into dishes like French coq au vin or Italian-American chicken marsala.
When pairing foods and wines, try to look for congruent or contrasting flavors. For example, a rich cream sauce can be perfectly paired with a buttery Chardonnay.
Sweet wines have a self-explanatory, more sugary taste that can come from fruit or added sugar during the winemaking process. They can also be fortified, as with port and sherry, or made using a natural process like noble rot (aka botrytis), which dehydrates grapes and concentrates the sweetness. This can lead to wines like Sauternes, ice wines and mavrodaphne — a Greek red dessert wine that tastes similar to a ruby Port with flavors of dried fruits, vanilla, caramel and chocolate.
Generally, sweet wines are best used with other sweet foods or desserts, but savory dishes can be paired with them as well. The key is to use contrasting pairings, where the wine and food have opposite tastes, or congruent pairings, which amplify shared flavor compounds, such as savory with sweet. Take this simple chicken and rice recipe, for example — the addition of sweet white wine and tarragon takes this comfort food supper to new heights of deliciousness.
A sour taste is acidic (meaning it contains more hydrogen ions than the neutral pH of water), resulting in a bitter or sharp flavor. A sour flavor is one of the four basic taste sensations, along with sweet, salty, and bitter.
A dish with rich spices calls for a full-bodied wine to stand up to it, while something light or creamy requires a lighter wine to complement the flavors. A fruity wine can also pair well with a sour dish.
Sours are drinks that combine a base spirit, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener such as simple syrup or orgeat syrup. The New York sour, for example, is traditionally made with bourbon whiskey but you can try it with rye whisky for more spice notes. These drinks are best enjoyed over ice and with a garnish such as an orange twist or a cherry on top. You can make your own sour by shaking a spirit, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
When looking for wine and food recipes it is important to remember that all wines are made up of alcohol, sugar, acid and tannin while foods contain these same elements as well as fat, salt and other flavor characteristics. Matching these tastes together is the key to creating a wine and food pairing that complements rather than competes with each other.
Salty dishes are very wine friendly as they enhance the sweetness of a wine and decrease the sense of bitterness, astringency and the burning sensation from acidity in the wine. For a perfect salty wine and food pairing recipe try marinated grilled shrimp with a glass of unoaked warm climate chardonnay.
Umami is a fifth taste that is described as savory and is found in things like mushrooms, parmesan cheese, cured meats and seafood. Umami can increase the perception of bitterness, astringency and alcohol burn in wine while decreasing body, sweetness and fruitiness. Wines that are high in umami, such as shiraz, are great with rich meat dishes while wines high in fruit will pair well with vegetarian dishes.
Acidity is a natural component of wine and grapes that influences the balance, flavor and mouthfeel of the finished wine. It also conditions yeast during fermentation and protects the wine from bacteria.
The ideal amount of acidity in a bottle depends on the type and ripeness of the grapes, and the climate where they are grown. The most important acidic compounds are tartaric, malic and citric acids.
In a glass of wine, acidity makes flavors pop and can refresh the palate. It also balances sweetness and saltiness, making it a great companion to many savory dishes. It also pairs well with rich or fatty foods and can help to soften the impact of a meal’s fat content on your stomach.
Acidity can also be found in beverages like soda, which often has a high acidity level even though it is sweet. The acidity in a soda is balanced by the amount of sugar and can have a different effect than in a bottle of wine.