The thought of pairing a wine with food can intimidate a lot of people. How do you decide what food to pair with a wine? What flavors are you looking for? Why does wine pairing even matter?
“Wine and food pairings don’t have to be complicated,” says Riana Mondavi, a member of the fourth generation of the Mondavi wine family from Napa and an ambassador for her family’s CK Mondavi and Family wines. “It’s really about what you taste and smell in the wine and how you feel the wine brings out and compliments the food you are eating.”
If done correctly, a proper pairing can enhance the flavors of both the food and your chosen bottle of wine. The intensity of a specific food or wine depends on a lot of things such as sugar, acid, salt and spice. The food should not overpower the wine (and vice versa). By matching a light wine with light fare or a heavy dish with a heavier wine, the food and wine balance each other out and their intensities line up for a perfect pairing.
For example, if you have a dish that has a lot of citrus in it, it’s great to pair with a Chardonnay, as it also has hints of citrus in it. The two enhance each other and balance out the flavors. A lighter white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, pairs well with summer vegetables, as it brings out the crisp, light flavor profiles. Red wines typically pair best with richer food such as steak and sweets, but there’s no set rule. Many people pair a Merlot with seafood.
CK Mondavi and Family has made wine pairing easy for everyone, and this summer they invite you to play around with pairings. They’ve created a downloadable “Wine pairing made simple” guide on their website: https://www.ckmondavi.com/ckm-pairings. They also added flavor descriptors to each bottle of CK Mondavi and Family. With descriptors such as “Rich & Velvety” for Cabernet Sauvignon and “Bright & Fresh” for Chardonnay, anyone can quickly decide on a wine.
Riana Mondavi also recommends impromptu wine pairings with friends. “It’s fun to get together with a group to see what everyone tastes or smells in the wine,” she adds. “Everyone has a different opinion and it’s fun to see what we all come up with.”
So, this summer, have some fun pairing wines with your favorite foods. And while doing it, enter CK Mondavi and Family’s monthly #pairNpost drawing, where you can enter to win a prize. Just snap a photo of your favorite pairing and tag it with #pairNpost on Twitter or Instagram.
It’s all part of a new, fun approach to wine. After all, summer is about enjoying yourself and what better way to enjoy life than at the table with friends and family?