Looking to have wine at your next party but not sure where to start? While professional wine pairing is actually a “thing”, unless you’re hosting a large or upscale event, most of us just want to be sure that we are serving a decent wine that doesn’t clash with what we are serving. Here are a few basic wine pairing tips for party planning:
Basic Wine Pairing Tips for Party Planning
Think about food and wine in terms of “weight”. For example, fish will be lighter than red meats in terms of how heavy it feels when consuming it. For wines, a Merlot or Port will be heavier than a Pinot Gris or champagne.
You want to make sure that your pairings don’t overpower one another, but rather compliment each other. Think of it in terms of a conversation; each should take turns “speaking” but neither should be so overpowering that one takes away from the other. This means that a light dish should be paired with a mellow light wine, and a heavier dish should have a bold or robust wine.
Compliment or Contrast?
A complimentary pairing is a more traditional wine pairing method (a sweet dessert wine with cake), but it isn’t the only way to do it. Think about peanut butter and jelly; an example of the sweet and salty combination. If you’ve got a savory dish, you would likely have good success pairing this with a light, sweet wine. Also consider that a wine with high alcohol content will enhance the “heat” in a spicy dish.
For more basic wine pairing tips for party planning, you can get a more in-depth picture of wine pairing and its history on this Wikipedia article, hire a professional sommelier, or ask your event planner for more resources.
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