Pairing: How to choose the wine that best combines with your dish

In a previous article, we mentioned what wines with a denomination of origin are. Today, we will explain in detail how to correctly choose the wine that will enhance the taste of your food, thus offering you a gratifying and unforgettable experience.

What is the wine pairing?

The word “pairing” comes from the verb “to pair”, which means two things of the same appearance and size that are intended to be used together, or something that consists of two parts joined together.

In the gastronomy, the same occurs. Pairing is about finding a wine that will unite with the meal in a way so that the characteristics of both complement and amplify each other.

The main tastes

At the moment of the pairing, it is important to keep in mind the principal flavours and textures of the food. Before we begin to speak about pairing, let’s see which are the principal flavours that we can perceive, and in which part of the tongue they are located.

The main tastes of our palate

At the moment of the pairing, it is important to keep in mind the principal flavours and textures of the food. Before we begin to speak about pairing, let’s see which are the principal flavours that we can perceive, and in which part of the tongue they are located.

  • Sweet: This is the first taste we perceive. All the wines contain some degree of sweetness, since the sugar is an element present in the grapes. The less sweetness a wine contains, the more we call it “dry”.
  • Salty: It is perceived in the central part in the middle of the tongue. Although it is almost imperceptible, it is still present in wine.
  • Acid: It is perceived on the sides of the tongue and is very easy to identify.
  • Bitter: It is perceived at the bottom of the tongue. Mainly red wine is characterized by this property, due to the tannins it contains.
  • Umami: This word comes from the Japanese vocabulary and means “pleasant, tasty flavour”. It is a subtle, but prolonged flavour. It induces salivation and enhances the taste of food. It can be found in foods with high contents of glutamate, like vegetables, green tea, Iberic ham, fish, seafood, or cured meat, among others.

In the following picture, published by CienRadios, you can visualize grafically how the different tastes are distributed on our palate.

Sabores del paladar

Rules for the pairing

Even though traditionally, white wine was always used to accompany fish, and red wine, for meat, nowadays, a different set of rules applies that allows to play more with the senses.

Whenever we want to choose a wine that combines well with our food, we can remind us of the classic rules, like, for example:

  • Accompany fish with white wines. However, if the fish is greasy, we can accompany it with a soft red wine to obtain a taste contrast.
  • Accompany red meat with red wine. However, if we consume a white meat like rabbit or chicken, we can accompany it with a white wine.
  • Accompany cold dishes with light wines.
  • Salty dishes that combine well with wines with high alcohol content result in a certain bitterness.

In the following picture, published by VinoPack, you can visualize more grafically how you can marry the different wines.

Maridaje vino y comida

Types of pairing: Contrast VS Complementation

Depending on whether you want to create a contrast of flavours or complement the taste of the wine and the food, you can try different combinations. Keep in mind that, before you choose a good wine, it is important to know the characteristics of the food to be able to create a perfect pairing.

  1. In a complementary pairing the flavours are similar, and the range of flavours gets reinforced. For example, a sweet wine with a dessert. There are also other examples:
  2. Combine the acidity of the food with that of the wine
  3. Combine the sweet taste of the wines with that of the food (fruit, honey, almonds, food with pepper)
  • In a contrast pairing, the intensity of the flavours is different. It is important to pay attention to the type of contrast, since a very strong cheese can completely overshadow a smooth wine, and on the other hand, a strong wine can overwhelm the taste of a delicate cheese. You can also try:
  • Accompanying salty dishes with wines of a certain sweetness.
  • Pairing spicy foods with somewhat sweet wines to avoid an excess of spiciness and render the food fresher.

Order of the wines

Furthermore, if during an evening you are going to try different wines, remember the following rules:

  • Drink white wines before red wines
  • Drink dry wines before sweet wines
  • Drink young wines before aged wines

Trust your personal taste

Remember that a pairing is not an exact science, but rather something that can be modified. At the moment of the pairing, it is necessary to take some risk with the combinations, since it is this how the best combinations are discovered.

So don’t hesitate to choose a wine that you like, and combine it with the dish you want, to try new taste combinations that might boost and highlight the union of both.

Try the wine menu at Agust Barcelona

This is as far as our article for this month goes. We hope you learned something about the world of wines and how to enjoy them in a surprising way. As we explained in the article, each person’s taste is unique, which is why we encourage you to discover the taste that best adapts to you. Remember to marry the tastes of the wines with the ones of the dishes to find a good balance that will reinforce the union between both, be it in a contrasting or complementary way. At Agust Barcelona, you will find a select menu with national white, dark, and red wines, sparkling, sweet, and dry wines. Let our wines with a denomination of origin surprise you. All of them have been carefully chosen to perfectly combine the varied selection of dishes that you can enjoy at Agust Barcelona.

We wait for you in our restaurant, where you can enjoy an authentic and delicious experience. Don’t miss it!