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How to correctly pair wine (Part 2)

How to correctly pair wine (Part 2)

A complete guide to wine pairing in order to better understand when to serve a red, white or sweet wine.

Wines are usually paired based on their color and sweetness.

White wines: are usually lighter and therefore served at the beginning of a meal, especially during the summer. White wines generally pair well with appetizers and most salads, like a caprese. The acidity of white wines makes them particularly good for drinking with fatty, oily or creamy foods. The acidity cuts through the fat, cleaning your palate. Try serving white wine with salumi, fresh cheeses and sauces made with cream or butter. The sapidity and acidity of most white wines also makes them a good pair for light and slightly sweet dishes like pasta, fish and vegetables. A fuller-bodied white wine with more than 12% alcohol can be served with light food with a heavier sauce or with white meat. For example, Sicilian white wines pair perfectly with grilled fish, which is full of flavor.

Red wines: are generally fuller bodied and, for this reason, pair well with red meat, game and aged cheeses. Red wines generally have a higher alcohol content than whites, as well as more acidity. These characteristics tend to dry out your mouth after salivation, which occurs when eating particularly elaborate or rich dishes like stews or braised meats. For example, stewed hare can easily be paired with an Amarone della Valpolicella. Some reds, however, have less tannings and alcohol like Pinot Nero, Freisa and Grignolino. These lighter reds can be served with lighter foods like pasta and fish. A Rosso dei Colli Berici can be paired, for example, with Vicenza-style codfish (baccalà alla vicentina.)     

Sweet wines: can be served alone or paired with pastries. During the last thirty years, however, people have begun pairing sweet wines with very savory foods like piquant cheese such as cave-aged Pecorino or Gorgonzola. Given that these wines are usually fairly aromatic, they pair well with dishes made using spices, candied fruit, jam tarts, strudel, panforte and cookies. Chocolate cake, however, should be paired with a stronger sweet wine like Marsalal or Malvasia delle Lipari.