How to Pair Food and Wine for the Holidays

wine and food pairing

Buying a bottle wine to share at happy hour with friends is intimidating enough, let alone trying to choose a bottle that perfectly complements the food being served at a holiday meal.  Some wine and food pairings can be disastrous depending on numerous factors: acidity, sweetness, flavor profile and more. Here’s exactly how to choose a bottle of wine that will pair perfectly with your holiday meal and will have your guests feeling merry and bright:

Red versus white wine and food

A good rule of thumb is to pair red wines with red meats and white with lighter fares. White wines tend to be lighter than red wines, which is why they paired well with light meats such as fish and chicken. Red wines tend to be bold and robust and would bring out the complex and bolder flavors in red meats. Many wine labels might note what the wine best pairs with, but do not let this limit your palate. As always, it’s important to explore and try finding unique pairings to bring out different elements in your holiday meal.

Optimize on similarities

When it comes to wine pairing for beginners, it’s best to pair wines and dishes with similar traits. Wine enthusiasts explain that there are five different tastes in foods: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. If your dish has bright, sweet flavors a white wine with similar notes would be best.

Similarly, this can apply to the texture of the wine and foods. Many red wines can be described as velvety in texture, which makes them ideal to be paired with thicker sauces and very tender meats.

play with contrast

If this isn’t your first pairing rodeo, try adding more complexity in your meal by focusing on contrasting elements. For instance, if your dish has sour elements, try adding some sweetness to your meal. Also, if your meal contains salty elements balance it with more savory aspects. Contrasting the different flavor profiles helps you achieve balance in your meal and encourage more subtle notes in your food and wine to emerge.

Pairing food and wine may seem intimidating, but focusing on the basics makes it immensely easier and more successful. Wow your guests not only with your cooking this holiday, but also how well the wine you’ve chosen complements the meal. From your friends at Infusion Spirals, happy holidays!