Food and Wine Matching Guide for Holidays

Holiday season is just right the door! Learn how to perfectly match food and wine not only for holiday season but also for every special family event. The secret is for perfect food and wine matching is balance.

One does not have have to study complex system of choosing the right wine to match with the food you are preparing. Enjoying special dinners should be simple yet fun, and so with preparing food and wine. Although, it is also important to experiment food and wine matching so that you will be able to create a great dinner for special occasion like Thanksgiving.

Remember also that most of the people drink only a portion of wine and taking several sips before and after eating foods that are matched with. But the significant thing is, people spend more time conversing with one another.

Three basic rules to enjoy special occasions during these Holiday season is to enjoy the drinks and eat whatever you like, maintain balance between the food and wine, and in choosing the right wine – choose the wine to match with the most prominent element in the food.

Enjoy Drinking and Eating

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Pick a wine that you love to drink, rather than spend more time in choosing wine and hoping that it will match the foods you are preparing. The pair may turn out not to be perfect, but you will enjoy the wine. You may take a portion of water or take a bite-size of bread in between the food and wine.

Maintain Balance

Check on the weight, characteristics, or texture of wine and food. Balancing wine and food by weight will be great. Balance is the secret guide to wine and food pairing. Simple logic says that a hearty food will need a hearty wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent pair with grilled lamb because they are both intense. A lighter Soave can neutralize a finely flavored poached fish because they are both light.

Pairing Wine to Most dominant Element in the Food

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Determine the dominant character of the food. Most of the time, it is the seasonings used, sauce, or the manner the food is cooked, instead of the major ingredients. Imagine a Chicken Marsala with its browned surface and sauce from dark wine and mushrooms. Or, a poached chicken breast with creamy lemon sauce. The caramelized and earthy flavors of Chicken Marsala turns it to a smooth red and the poached chicken brings in simplicity and citrus flavors needs a fresh white.

Preparing The Special Dinner for Special Occasion

It is significant to know the ingredients of the grapes as wine. Its fruit flavor and sugar gives a smooth feel in the mouth while the tannins and acidity gives a feel of firmness. Grape wines also has a part of alcohol that is supple when they are taken in smaller amount but can be harder when taken in bigger amount.

Red wines have distinct characteristics from white wines in two ways: flavors and tannins. Tannins gives an astringent sensation on your cheeks as if you are drinking a strong tea. Most of red wines and some of white wines contain tannins.

chicken and wine pairing

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Red and white wines have similar flavors and smells. They can be buttery, spicy, earthy, floral, or leathery. But white wines in pear, apple, and citrus flavors seldom contained in reds. Most often, the dark currant and plum flavors of red grapes are not present in white wines.

Elements in Matching Food with Wine

Texture and Structure

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Balance is the key. Generally, elements of wines are in balance but still, it can be effected with foods. The components that contain in foods can highlight or lower the sweetness and acidity of wine as well as the bitterness of tannins contained in wines.

Higher amount of acidic ingredients like lemon and vinegar can help wines that contains high acid by making them supple and rounder in comparison. While a tart food makes balanced-wines into flabby.

Sweetness on the food can make dry wine tastes sour. It makes an excellent pair with a little sweetness in wine. The wine should balance the sugar with natural acidity components. German Rieslings and demi-sec Champagnes work with most of foods.

Tannins have effects on salty, fatty, and spicy flavors. The fatty and rich foods like steak tempers the tannins and will make any bold wine like Cabernet appears supple. Very salty dishes enhance the tannins and turn red wine tastes like harsh and astringent. Salty emphasizes the strength of a alcohol wine while very spicy dishes seem to react poorly with tannins and high-alcohol wines tend to make wines feet hotter. Foods are better with lightly-sweet and fruity wines.

The Flavor Connection

The smell of wines usually recalls foods like spices, herbs, fruits, and butter. Develop a great food and wine pairing by putting ingredients in a menu that emphasizes the smell and flavors contained in wines.

There are some similar flavors can balance one another by bringing out some elements of the wine. Earthy mushrooms with earthy red gives more dominance to the fruit element of the wine.

And lastly, aged wines provides a special set of flavors, aroma and textures. As it matures, tannins smoothen and wine may turn to be more delicate and delicious. Those fresh fruit tastes gives way to earthy and savory elements as the wine turns to be more complex with secondary characteristics.  Choose braised-lambs instead of grilled and spiced-rubbed steak with a more mature red wine.


Again, just enjoy special occasions. The pairing may not be the perfect one but the most important thing is that special occasions like Thanksgiving, bring family and friends together!

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