Celebrate National Wine Day with the Perfect Wine Tasting Menu
While we don’t typically need an official reason to celebrate over a bottle of wine, today we have one. May 25 is officially National Wine Day. Whether you host a wine tasting at your place to try the latest rosés or meet friends for an evening of professionally paired food and wine, pop a cork or unscrew a lid and celebrate the day.
Here at Bellisari’s, we’ve made it easy for you as each of our gourmet spreads has a wine pairing suggestion right on the label. The point of pairing certain wines with particular foods is that ideally the two balance each other out, with neither one overwhelming the taste of the other. This doesn’t mean doing opposite pairings. A great food and wine pairing creates a balance between the components of a dish and the characteristics of a wine. Think of a bold red wine with a hearty plate of lamb or a light-bodied white wine with grilled fish for a more delicate experience.
As much as pairing food and wine might seem complex, the basics are simple to grasp. If you’re just getting started, you’ll find these tried-and-true methodologies will produce consistently great pairings. (Then, as you get more familiar with different wines and your confidence grows, you can experiment with breaking the rules!)
- The wine should be more acidic than the food.
- The wine should be sweeter than the food.
- The wine should have the same flavor intensity as the food.
- Red wines pair best with bold flavored meats (e.g. red meat).
- White wines pair best with light-intensity meats (e.g. fish or chicken).
- Bitter wines (e.g. red wines) are best balanced with fat.
- It is better to match the wine with the sauce than with the meat.
We’ve learned that there are over 20 different tastes found in food – from the basic, including sweet, sour, and fat, to the extreme, including spicy, umami, and electric. Fortunately, when pairing food and wine you only need to focus on 6 tastes: Salt, Acid, Sweet, Bitter, Fat and Spice (Piquant).
For the most part, wine lacks the 3 tastes of fatness, spiciness, and saltiness but does contain acidity, sweetness, and bitterness in varying degrees. Generally speaking, you can group wines into 3 different categories:
- Red wines have more bitterness.
- White, rosé, and sparkling wines have more acidity.
- Sweet wines, of course, have more sweetness.
Next, try to simplify a dish down to its basic dominant tastes. For example, baked macaroni and cheese has 2 primary components: fat and salt. Southern barbecue is a bit more complex and includes fat, salt, sweet, and spice (plus a little acid!). Even dishes without meat can be simplified. For example, a green salad offers acidity and bitterness; creamed corn offers fatness and sweetness. Consider whether the food is super light or super rich. A salad may seem lighter, but perhaps the dressing is balsamic vinaigrette with high acidity. If the intensity of the dish isn’t obvious at first, just focus on the power of each taste component (acidity, fat, sweet, etc). You also want to consider whether the wine is light or bold. For example:
- Sauvignon Blanc is light-bodied, but it has higher acidity
- Chardonnay has more body, but it’s usually not too acidic
- Pinot Noir is lighter bodied (for a red wine), and it doesn’t have too much tannin (bitterness).
- Cabernet Sauvignon is more full-bodied and has high tannin (more bitterness)
When you consume food with wine it will have an effect on the way wine tastes. Wine can also affect the taste of food. The goal of food and wine pairing is to take advantage of these effects, so that under the right circumstances you will derive more pleasure from the food and wine than either would provide separately. The more successful you are with pairings, the more enjoyment and excitement you will achieve from your dining experiences.
With all of the above in mind, we’ve created a wine tasting menu for you here to get you started down the path to your most memorable dining experiences:
Bellisari’s National Wine Day Wine Tasting Menu
Blue Cheese Honey & Shallot Spread:
Wine Pairing: Riesling
Recipe: Asparagus Puff Pastry Spears
Harvest Ginger Peach Spread:
Wine Pairing: Champagne
Recipe: Harvest Ginger Peach Brie
Blistered Jalapeno & Fig:
Wine Pairing: Light Chianti Classico
Calabrian Pepper & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread:
Wine Pairing: Red Zinfandel
Recipe: Caprese Risotto
Balsamic Shallot & Black Garlic Spread:
Wine Pairing: Chardonnay
This menu has you all set for an exciting exploration into the world of wine and food pairing. Happy National Wine Day from all of us at Bellisari’s!