When you have a sumptuous meal waiting to be enjoyed the last thing you want is to have a wine served that isn’t complimentary to the cuisine. To become a successful matchmaker and develop a love affair between the fare and the fruit of the vine, you have to know the basics first and branch out from there. Although it seems rather simple, the best place to start is by following the golden rule of food and wine pairing: White with fish, red with meat. In other words, light wine with light food and heavy wine with heavy food. Of course, as with all things, there are exceptions.
What Makes a Pairing Great?
The world’s finest sommeliers strive for pairings that bring out the best in each other and indeed, go one step further – create a totally new taste when they come together, one even more stupendous than when they are on their own. There must be balance. Neither the wine nor the food should overpower the other. You aren’t aiming for just OK and you certainly don’t want a fight between what’s on your plate and what’s in your glass. What you do want is a match made in heaven, one that has your dinner guests asking, “How did you ever find a wine to go so magnificently with dinner?”
Contrast and Harmony Pairings
There are various ways to pair food and wine, but the two most often used are contrast and harmony. Opposites attract in contrast pairing – like salty and sweet. When there are similar flavors in the wine and food, flavors that enhance each other – that’s harmony pairing which are the easiest to achieve. Let’s put these ideas to use.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Any wine aficionado is aware of vintages that come out of this region of France. This wine is a Hercules – big, bold and beautiful. It pairs best with beef, duck, venison and lamb. In addition to the fruity flavors of cooked cherry, raspberry and blackberry, you’ll get herbs, black pepper, licorice, smokey and gamey flavors in this complex red. Since it’s high in alcohol and full-bodied, Châteauneuf-du-Pape should never be served with spicy dishes like curry or Mexican food.
If you would love to immerse yourself in discovering French wineries, Provence is a beautiful place to start, especially when you’re staying at the charming Villa Berengere with its plush interior, amazing views and beautifully landscaped gardens.
The Hamptons, New York, United States
With more than 60 vineyards and wineries in the Hamptons and across the North Fork you can find a red, white, champagne, or rosé perfect for any occasion. Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack features its Antonov Sauvignon Blanc – one of the finest expressions of the winery’s terroir. Sauvignon Blanc is one of the varieties most suitable to grow on Long Island. The special dynamic between the abundance of intense sun and the cooling maritime sea breeze imparts a distinct mineral character and ripe fruit. This wine is delicate, fresh with vibrant fruit aromas like crisp green apple and green papaya. It’s pure and focused with ripe fruit on the palate. It has a long finish and is a perfect match with raw oysters; clams; fresh, soft cheeses; fish; pasta and flavorful salads; and white meat dishes such as pork belly with apple and cabbage salad.
With all those wineries to explore in the Hamptons area, you might consider staying awhile. If beachy, romantic and secluded sound lovely, staying at Villa Swans Nest might be the ideal choice. This is a waterfront property with an elegant roaring wood fireplace ideal for cuddling in front of on chilly evenings.
Mallorca is a Balearic island off Spain’s eastern coast. It’s known for its beautiful beaches, Michelin-starred restaurants, and delicious Sangria, but now it is also getting to be known for its wine made from indigenous grapes on the island.
Bodega Ribas is the oldest vineyard on the island. It’s here you can find a number of unique appellations, but we recommend Sioneta Rosat, a naturally sweet late harvest wine produced from small batches of small-berried Muscat grapes that have been over-ripened and dried on the vine. It’s pink and clean looking with a taste of strawberries, raspberries and cherries with a floral touch. There is a wonderful balance between sweetness and acidity. This wine is wonderful as an aperitif or paired with foie gras, blue cheese, duck magret, dark chocolate desserts, cheesecake or berries and cream.
Villa Anisha is an idyllic property on the sea should you choose to stay in Mallorca’s most luxurious area. This stunning retreat is spread over four floors, all connected by a panoramic lift. It’s truly spectacular.
We invite you to entrust your holiday planning and accommodations to us. LVH always holds the highest standard of excellence in vacation home experiences and we do everything we possibly can to ensure your every need and desire is met.