Italian food and wine are an amazing combination. If you’re just choosing a bottle and not thinking about the key to matching the flavors together, you’re not going to enjoy either as much as you should. Instead, learning to pair wines is a key element to enjoying food on a whole other level. Once you know the basics, it’s not hard to know how to pair wines with Italian food. Here’s the low-down on wine pairings and Italian food.
Flavor Pairing Basics
In short, flavors sometimes pair well together for a number of reasons. In some cases, two foods or flavors might pair well because they have a lot of similar attributes. Meat and mushrooms, for example, are both very savory foods. These pair well due to their similarities. On the other hand, some pairings share compounds. Lemon and coconut work well together because they have complementary elements to their taste. The lightness of both makes them work well together with a light entree like something seafood-based. Knowing compounds and congruent pairings is a great first step.
Basic Tastes in Wine
The three basic tastes of wine are bitter, acidic, and sweet. Any glass of wine can be chalked up to one of these basic flavor attributes. Knowing if something is bitter, acidic, or sweet is going to help pair it nicely to what you’re eating. A steak, for example, is not acidic or sweet, meaning a more bitter wine will work well with a New York strip or other cuts of meat. Matching basic tastes is a key element to wine pairing.
It sounds funny, but some foods are more intense than others. It’s not always the main ingredients either that dictate the intensity. A salad, for example, seems light, but when tossed in balsamic vinegar, it can become quite rich. Matching a rich or light intensity in food to one of the three flavors is tricky at first, but it comes easily as you practice more. For example, a light intensity pasta could easily go with a more acidic wine like a white blend of sorts. It’s all about finding the right flavor pairings, just like we covered above.
If you’re into high-quality food and incredible wines, Nico Ristorante is the place to go for gourmet Italian food. In terms of perfect pairings, it all has to start with great food, so make your reservation today!