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How to Pair Wine

Wine Pairing Suggestions to Live By


Wine connoisseur Mark Oldman teamed up with Roy Choi for the Pickles and Marinades: The Korean Way seminar at the New York City Wine & Food Festival to discuss pairing wine with even the most difficult flavors like acidic pickles and spicy Asian food. If you're looking for some tips to pair just about any dish with wine, look no further than Mark's basic suggestions. See his wine pairing rules here.

  • Pair just about anything with sparkling Rosé. No matter the course, Mark swears by Rosé sparkling wines, which "straddle the world of white wine food and red wine food." Serve sparkling Rosé throughout the meal, not just as an aperitif. According to Mark, it is like a "mineral water" that has a "cleansing, nonconflicting net affect" with the food.
  • Match acidic foods with acidic wines. Although it seems counterintuitive, "acidic wines subdue acidic foods," so turn toward dry wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chianti to help balance out the food's acidity.
  • Use low-alcohol, dry wines to tone down spicy foods. Avoid pairing high-alcohol wines with spicy flavors like jalapeño. It just increases the taste of the pepper in your mouth. Look for something relatively dry and low in alcohol, like a dry Austrian Riesling or a dry Muscat.
  • Serve sweet wines with dessert. Follow the like-attracts-like rule, and present desserts with dessert wines or wines on the sweeter side like Riesling and demi-sec (sweet) Champagne. Mark says that all too often, wedding cakes are served with a dry Champagne, leaving a horrible, bitter flavor in your mouth.
  • Learn to detect a bad pairing. If you experience a tin-like, off-putting aftertaste, it's an immediate sign of a bad wine pairing. A good wine and food pairing will enhance the flavors of the food and will finish smooth and clean on the palate.
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