Be Flexible When Pairing

By Tamra Bolton

Food and wine pairing is one of the most delightful aspects of wine appreciation.  They should be enjoyed together as they have for millennia without a lot of fuss, but unfortunately, a rigid approach to pairing has taken over part of the wine culture in places.  This type of thinking can squelch any joy of discovery and leave the participant in a state of angst.

I believe food and wine pairing is a highly personal experience, with you making choices you enjoy.  My “rule of thumb”, if you want to call it something, is very flexible.  (I am an all red gal, so you won’t find any advice for the paler variety.  I’ll leave that up to someone else.)

My favorite Malbecs, I tend to pair with steaks, ribs and other hearty fare like my famous homemade spaghetti, while the Cabernet Sauvignons I favor usually end up accompanying hamburgers, spicy sausages and even gumbo.  For seafood and my favorite fish, salmon, I like a more delicate Pinot Noir.  There is a Spanish Rioja that works so well with our wild hog and venison dishes, I wouldn’t serve anything else.  I save the French Bordeauxs for my favorite cheese, an espresso encrusted delicacy that I save for a special treat.  So, you can see that food and wine pairings are really a very individual decision, one you should have fun with, not stress over.