Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairing
Cab Sauv with its high tannin levels can be a bit overwhelming without food. With correct pairing, the flavours of the wine and the food get enhanced, ensuring a wholesome gastronomic experience!
Since the wine itself is bold, light food such as pasta or food with subtle flavours will not pair well with it. However, do try a cabernet sauvignon with meats, mushrooms, grilled food, dishes with heavy flavourful sauces or semi-hard cheese. Here are my suggested pairings:
1. Tofu with chilli soy sauce, sesame seeds and peppers. The texture of tofu and the flavour sauce with pair well with a bold Cab.
2. Grilled ribs/meat with Balsamic glaze and mashed potatoes and peppers on the side. The meat will complement the body of the wine, while the potatoes and peppers will balance the overall flavour.
3. Cheddar cheese.
4. Veggie Burger or Cheeseburger.
I’ve tried to include a vegetarian dish, a meat dish, a cheese and a fun food! Comment to let me know if your food preference is not listed!
Merlot Food Pairing
One of the ways to pair food and wine is to match the body and flavours of the wine to that of the food. While full-body, Bordeaux-style wines pair well with grilled meats and dishes with heavy flavourful sauces. Smoother, fruitier Merlot wines pair well with grilled chicken, pasta in arrabiata sauce, mushroom tarts and bloomy cheese.
My suggested pairings with Merlot are:
1. Grilled chicken with roast vegetables. The low tannins of the Merlot do not overpower the light flavours of chicken.
2. Pasta with roasted tomatoes or tomato-based sauces. Merlot is one of the few wines that pairs well with tomato-based sauces in pasta.
3. Camembert Cheese. Camembert has a thick rind like Brie but a stronger pungent aroma and taste. The low tannins of Merlot compliment the cheese without overpowering the taste.
4. Mushroom tarts. The eartiness of the mushroom compliments the light and earthy flavours such as thyme, fallen leaves, present in the wine.
Have you tried a Merlot recently? Which region was it from?
Pinot Noir Food Pairing
Pinot is a wonderful light wine that goes with a range of food. The light, fruitier versions go well with many vegetable dishes as well as poultry and fish. The aged Pinots develop complex earthy notes and can be paired with gamey meats and mushrooms.
1. Smoked Salmon with roasted vegetables: A light, fruity Pinot Noir pairs well with light fish dishes.
2. Vegetable Stir Fry or Ratatouille: Pinot Noir goes well with most vegetables since its light and the acidic flavours balance out the strong and earthy flavours of the vegetables.
3. Gruyere: This cheese is similar to Gouda but with a sweet and nutty flavour. The lightness of the wine and the earthy flavours of a Pinot Noir go well with Gruyere cheese.
4. Sausage roll or Mushroom roll: The smoky and earthy flavours of these rolls match well with the earthy notes of the wine.
Chardonnay Food Pairing
Chardonnay is a food wine. Of course, it can be enjoyed without the food, too, but depending on its flavour profile, it can go with many types of food. The key to understanding food and wine pairing is rather simple. It’s either complementary (light, crispy wine with lemon chicken) or contrast (fresh, crispy wine with a creamy risotto).
Here I am listing some food pairings that may suit most palates. There is a vegetarian dish, a non-vegetarian dish, a cheese pairing and my favourite – a fast-food pairing!
1. Pumpkin soup or Pumpkin ravioli. The earthiness of the pumpkin pairs well with the oaky as well as non oaky chardonnay.
2. Grilled chicken with lemon and herbs. A classic dish for a classic wine. The body and flavours of the food complement the flavours of Chardonnay.
3. Goat cheese. Chardonnay pairs well with other soft cheeses, too.
4. Fish fingers or Paneer pakodas. Non oaky or lightly oaked chardonnays are crisp and refreshing and pair well with fried food.
Sauvignon Blanc Food Pairing
Given its grassy and herbaceous flavours, the tart, crisp Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with a lot of ‘green’ food. Think greens, beans, and herbs of all kinds. It pairs really well with salads, light fish and poultry dishes as well as with Thai green curry. Below are some suggested pairings :
1. Salad with lots of green leaves, peas, zucchini with a light vinaigrette dressing. Take a ride on the green side!
2. Pesto sauce pasta with veggies or chicken. Basil and the nuts complement the tartness and the herbaceous flavours of the wine.
3. Feta cheese. On its own or with salads. The acidity of the wine cuts through the smooth, rich, salty cheese and balances out the flavours.
4. Samosa with green chutney. The coriander and mint chutney is the key here as it pairs well with the refreshing acidity and grassy notes of Sauv Blanc.
Chenin Blanc Food Pairing
Depending on the wine style, Chenin Blanc can pair well with a range of food. Given its fruit flavours of apple, pear, ginger and sometimes pineapple, it makes for an easy-drinking summer afternoon wine, too!
The fresh and crisp styles can go with salads and oysters, while the sweeter Chenin Blancs are best-suited for sweet, sour and spicy Asian dishes.
Some suggestions are :
1. Crunchy salad with lots of veggies like carrots, cauliflower and greens. The freshness of the salad matches with the crispness of wine.
2. Seared scallops/Prawns in light garlic butter sauce. The acidity of Chenin Blanc cuts through the fish and the garlic butter binds it all together.
3. Brie. The nuttiness of the rind contrasts the fruitiness of the wine and brings out both the flavours.
4. Honey chilli potato/Honey chilli chicken wings. The acidity of the wine lowers the spice while maintaining the sweet and sour flavours.
PS – I tried a Chenin Blanc with an Indian snack – Sabudana khichadi (Tapioca with roasted potatoes and peanuts) and it was yumm! Try it if it floats your boat.