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Food and Wine Pairings

The universal saying "red wine with red meats, white wines with fish" has a very strong basis in fact. However, if you follow these guidelines strictly, you'll miss some wonderful flavor combinations, like salmon and Pinot Noir. The following suggestions are based of flavors, textures and weight, of both the foods and the wines. Always drink what you like—do not choose a wine because you think you should, and risk missing an enjoyable experience.

FISH
The joy and daunting task of this food is the style of fish itself. Fish can either be flaky, like Chilean sea bass, or with the meaty quality of the salmon or tuna. Consider as well the growing number of possible sauces that can change the flavor components. A sauce using a Pinot Noir reduction will beg for a soft red wine, whereas a hollandaise sauce or Buerre Blanc would be lost with anything red.

Light flaky fish (Chilean Sea Bass, etc.)
These types of fish work best with a lighter body wine that will not overpower the delicate flavors. A lovely PINOT GRIGIO from Italy or PINOT GRIS from Oregon with delicate flavors of its own makes a nice combination. Another fun wine is SEMILION; used generally for blending in Australia, it develops a life of its own.

Full Flavored Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Mahi, etc.)
Those with a meaty quality, lots of texture along with flavor can match well with white wine, but the combination of a PINOT NOIR or CHINON from the Loire Valley seems ideal.


SHELLFISH
It's no accident that foods from a certain region work well with the wines of the same region. Case in point the MUSCADET of the Loire Valley or ALBARINO from Rias Braxas or GALACIA in northwest Spain. These grapes are grown on old seabeds where their main soil is made up of fossil sediment. These wines are crisp, with a touch of mineral that makes the shellfish stand out.

CHICKEN
Poultry is another items that are so versatile with sauces that it can be hard to pin down. A CHARDONNAY or SAUVIGNON BLANC can make a nice combination.

Tip: The Sauvignon Blanc will become bitter and not very tasty if matched with some astringent vegetables.


RED MEAT
The range of texture that meat can possess run from soft melt-in-your-mouth filet mignons to very well marbled top sirloin. The more subtle meats look to softer reds such as PINOT NOIR, whereas the chewy textures of top sirloin would be lost without a Pinot. In these cases a hearty red wine such as ZINFANDEL or SYRAH makes for better flavor combinations.

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