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Are there any general rules of thumb?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Are there any general rules of thumb?

Reisling with this kind of food
Merlot with this kind

Fish with his kind of wine or that kind
Italian with this kind.

post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
Another member directed me to this interactive chart:
Food & Wine Pairing Guide
post #3 of 26
Okay! The following statement might just be considered blasphemous to the wine gods but............................. I've always considered it more important to drink what you like with what you eat. Yes it is important to pick a wine that accents and is accentuated by the food it is paired with then again.................... How many average folks have that finely a developed pallete? This is speaking in generalizational terms of course.:rolleyes: I apologize if I didn't answer your question very well.:look:
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
After careful analysis of that chart I have found the following general rules of thumb.

#1. For red meats, beef, lamb, veal, you want a red wine. When In doubt a good choice could be Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Merlot.

#2. When ordering fish go for a white wine. A safe choice is a Chardonnay
or Sauvignon Blanc.

#3. For pasta, vegatarian, pork, chicken, or turkey, those are often eating with red or white wine, the most common being Chardonnay or Merlot.

#4. A far as flavors, garlic goes well with Chardonnay or Merlot

#5. Onion Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay

#6. Black pepper = chardonnay, Zinfondel

#7. For mushroom, you would want a red wine, like a Shiraz

#8. For mustard its a Sauvignon, like the Cabernet Sauvignon or Sauvignon Blanc

#9. Wine sauce would be a red wine, liike Cabernet Sauvignon.

#10. Tomato, red wine, Zinfondel or Merlot

#11. For BBQ you would want a Zinfondel, either red or white

#12. A dish with a lot of herbs would pair nicely with a Merlot or Chardonnay

#13. Parmesen cheese, Merlot or Chardonnay again.

#14. Cream sauce, Chardonnay

#15. Clam sauce, you would want a white wine for this, like a Chardonnay

#16. Italian dressing, white wine, Savugnon Blanc

#17. Stir fry or ginger, have a white wine, like the Chardonnay

#18. Hot and Spicy food, looks like over whelmingly a white wine, specifically White Zinfandel

Does anyone have any other rules, or care to comment on those?
post #5 of 26
YOU go on and TESTIFY Old School....Amen Old School...AMEN!
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
post #6 of 26
Sometimes I think the difference between a developed and undeveloped palate is ability to explain why you like something.

post #7 of 26
Unless that wine sauce is a white wine sauce.

There are hundreds of "rules of thumb" when pairing food and wine. Ultimately it should come down to what you like as for every rule here I can come up with a number of exceptions. Of course these guidelines can help you out if you are a novice or rarely drink wine, but I can't stress enough that these are only guidelines. I don't care if everyone in the world says that drinking a cab with artichokes is disgusting, if you like it, then drink it.

Of course if you are serving wine to friends, etc. then it is more important to follow guidelines a little more closely as they give good advice for general pairings and not everyone may have the same tastes as you.
post #8 of 26
This is a poor example, I will have to spend sometime on each bullet, but at a quick glance it's a bit misleading and vague
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
So far I am finding it to be true, have you thought of any differences for the bullets?
post #10 of 26
I tend to agree with this...there is a general rule of thumb of white wine w/white meat and red wine w/red meat, but it doesn't always hold true. For instance, I love the taste of a good Pinot Noir with salmon or roast pork. In fact, the right Pinot Noir could go with almost anything or stand alone beautifully (I like La Crema, or the best one I've had lately was from Acacia...I also really liked a Hahn Cabernet Franc I had recently.)

Reisling is a sweeter white, almost a dessert wine...I like it better before the meal or after rather than with.

And yes, there are complicated rules to all of this (and my friend who is a somalier knows them all and feels free to talk ad nauseum to me about them regularly a la Stephen on Top Chef Season 1), but ultimately what it comes down to is taste. Sometimes people get so caught up in the logic of exactly which flavor profile goes with what that they forget that wine isn't about logic...

And now I just cross my eyes at my somalier friend and they understand it's time to just shut up, and let me enjoy the wine, lol.
post #11 of 26
I agree Cape Chef this is not only misleading, it is vague. For example #5 for onion drink Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. How many dishes contain onion? A basic rule of thumb should be kept simple, a lot of people would say red with meat and white with fish but remember this is not a hard and fast rule, it is a flexible one.

It is all about individual taste and opinion. Old School says that the average person's pallate is not so finely developed and that is also very true, the only way to develop it is to keep trying things and decide for yourself what you like with what. I have only been a chef for four years, yes I started late in life, yet I know the difference in my pallate is a million miles away from when I started, and the longer I pay attention to it the better it will get. What I am trying to say is try a Chianti with lamb and a rich dark sauce but also try it with pasta and a light creamy sauce. If you like one better than the other then you are getting there. If you have any affinity with food and wine you will know what tastes good and what does not. Another rule of thumb I use is this, If a dish contains wine, always try and drink the same wine with the meal or at least a wine from the same region, and never use poor quality wine in the food or you will have to drink it with the meal.

Keep trying and have fun, this is the greatest job I have ever had.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
If your using a white wine sauce you would look at what wine the meat goes with. By wine sauce I mean like a marsala, port, or Madeira.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Those are listed in no particular order, and you should go by how prominent the the item is in the dish, for example if your having leek soup you can be safe with a Chardonnay, if you having a steak with grilled onions, or a filet migon with some fried onions on top you would do well with a Cabernet Sauvingnon.
post #14 of 26
A general of a rule of thumb as I know with wine pairing is as follows:

Red wines go best with heavy, robust foods such as red meats, stews (beef stew, chilli, gumbo, etc.) lasagne, spaghetti, jambalaya, etc.

White wines go best with lighter foods such as poultry, fish, salads, cucumber sandwich, etc.
"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
post #15 of 26
I would have to agree with oldschool1982. I like white wine more than red. I'd rather drink a white wine that I like and enjoy it than a red wine, even it the red wine went with my meal. I think it's all in a matter of taste and who likes what. There's my 2 cents. Enjoy!
post #16 of 26
I agree with oldschool!!!
Did you guys check out the artice from WSJ that I posted a link to below. It is very long, but I think spot on. Not sure about the budometer test (link at end of article) but really like the insert on rebellious pairing.
post #17 of 26
AbeFroman: that is a really useful site that you posted. Thanks
"Never use water unless you have to! I'm going to use vermouth!" ~Julia Child

"No chaos, no creation. Evidence: the kitchen at mealtime. "
"Never use water unless you have to! I'm going to use vermouth!" ~Julia Child

"No chaos, no creation. Evidence: the kitchen at mealtime. "
post #18 of 26
very useful stuff there. thanks.
post #19 of 26
There are general rules, like white with fish and chicken and red with beef and lamb but the rules are fraught with exceptions.

When you choose a white wine, the most obvious characteristic is its degree of sweetness, after that, the the varietal character of the particular grape and the amount of oak from the cask (if any) come next. Some whites are spicy, or flowery or both -- for instance a (dry) Riesling or Traminer, and pair well with spicy or Asian foods. Some hold up well against powerful fish dishes, like Chardonnay. Some whites are very versatile, and "suitable for all occasions," like pinot grigio, fume blanc, white burgundies, etc.

When you choose a red wine, the most obvious characteristics are the "amount of fruit," the "size" of the wine, and its age compared to its legs. Fruit means the degree to which you can sense the wine is made from grape juice. The counterpart to fruitiness are "spice," earthiness" and "herbal" notes. Size you may have heard of as "it's a big wine," this means the wine feels "round" and heavy in your mouth, and has a profound effect on your palate. A big wine may usually be complex, but it's presence is not subtle. "Legs" refers to the ability of a wine to age well. A wine with legs, served young can still be pleasant; but (a) needs a lot of aeration; and, (b) leaves the sense that as good as it is, it could still be better.

A really big wine is the star of the meal, and should be served with something simple. These include well-aged Carbernets, Pinot Noirs, Riojas, Rhones, etc. Juicy wines are good with simple foods too, but in a different way. Barbecue for instance. Some varietals that usually fit in this category are Zinfandel, Syrah, young Beaujolais, Chianti, etc.

The characteristics of the individual bottle are almost as pronounced as the characteristics of the broad variety. Your best bet is to use wine rating services or the advice of a good wine merchant. Try to bear in mind that most amateur wine "experts" haven't tried nearly as many wines as they say they have, and that most professionals and honest amateurs give the impression they know a lot more than they do. No one has the ability to sample more than a minisucle number of the nearly infinite possibilities.

If you don't know what you're up to, try and stay within the general guidelines. Get advice. Don't overspend, and don't cheap out -- price means a lot. Let surprise be part of the delight.

post #20 of 26
I have attended innumerable unsponsored blind wine tastings. To no surprise, many wine "experts" refuse to publically taste blind. Of course, the reason is simple; the correlation between many wines and their price is marketing based. BDL's phrase..."don't cheap out" only rings true for me if cheaping out refers to buying a cheap wine that I know has poor taste. I've bought table whites at $3.00 that were outstanding and some at $13.00 that I wouldn't use to poach fish. As a responsible caterer, I always taste before I buy for service and request that the client approve the selection(s).
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
For a spicy or peppery flavor, those are more dominant in red wine wouldn't you agree? And would pair better with a dish that was spicy or peppery.
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
A general rule of thumb though is "you get what you pay for" Dom Perignon is isn't $130 because the company spends a lot on marketing crap wine.

When I'm looking for a great wine, I expect to spend in in the $25+ range. Or if I'm going for a Champaign or Bordoux $35+.

IE. if its for a special occasion, there is no point in going with three buck chuck vs. dom perignon.
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Kindly comment on a couple of the bullets. I read over the list again and have sampled many wines since writing this and would say as far a general rule of thumb goes its a great list to go by.

Now, I'm by no means a member of the Guild of Master Sommeliers, so I would love to hear your opinion on some of the bullets you differ with.
post #24 of 26
Pepper is often one of the underlying notes in reds. "Spiciness" is usually more associated with whites -- and then usually counterpoised against "floral." "Spicy" is something you're more likely to say about a Traminer than a Barbera, for instance.

Sometimes, but I'd say slightly more not. There comes a level of heat where the best wine is beer. Wine wants more of a dance partner than a sparring partner. Beer says, "it's all good."

It depends on so very many things. Just remember the what the loan-shark/wine lover said about rules of thumb. "Rules, thumbs, rules of thumb, whatever. They're all made to be broken."

post #25 of 26
I'll echo the sentiments of some others and say the first rule of thumb is drink what you think tastes good. As BDL suggested, the wine and the food should be dance partners, not divorce court contenders. General guidelines don't take all personalities into account. Chicken? White wine, right, unless maybe it is chicken parm with a zesty tomato sauce and a pungent parm. Lamb is a meat that pairs well with robust reds, but some of the best lamb I've done has been braised slowly in white wine and garlic.

Many years ago when I was in Indianapolis I knew a trust fund baby who would buy lots of wines that were on the order of 50, 100 or so dollars per bottle. He liked sweet whites, though, and would rave about something that I thought tasted a lot like Karo syrup mixed with grape juice.

Personal preferences trump general guidelines every time.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #26 of 26
I think I will apply these new rules to me selecting the correct wine with my foods....Thx
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