Friday, January 11, 2013

Wine and Food Pairing Infographic

Wine and food pairing can be very complicated or very easy.  It can be complicated because there are lots of "rules" for what goes with what, and because the food you're trying to match may have multiple characteristics that point you in different wine directions.  (I'll talk more about the specific rules in another post.)  On the other hand, it's also easy, because if you like a pairing, do it, and don't worry what the rules say.

I've devised a chart to help with the complicated part.  (Click on it for a larger image.)  It takes the basic wine elements of alcohol, sugar, acid, and tannin, and matches them up with food characteristics:  fat, salt, acid, spice, bitterness, and sweetness.  Start with either the food or the wine, and read across or down the chart to see how well the characteristics will match up, from awful, to pretty good, to really amazing.  I've added notes in some of the boxes to explain the theory behind the rating of that pairing, or to suggest examples of great food and wine matches.  Specific wines that fit the description of that row are listed on the right.

As the chart suggests, the most versatile wine to pair with food is one with medium-to-high acidity, low-to-medium tannin, and moderate alcohol.

You may notice that most of the boxes are blue, indicating a fair-to-good match.  There are fantastic pairings and terrible pairings, but most are somewhere in between.  So don't be afraid to experiment with your wine and food pairings and drink what tastes good to you!

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