Food and Wine 101: Red Wine

by Taryn Lachter

It’s time for our newest series: how to pair wine with food!

It’s really important to let your wine be its best self and that means drinking it with foods that bring out the ideal qualities of the wine. 

You know that moment where you brush your teeth and then too soon after you have some fruit and your mouth is just so angry at you? 

It’s time for our newest series: how to pair wine with food! It’s really important to let your wine be its best self and that means drinking it with foods that bring out the ideal qualities of the wine. 

You know that moment where you brush your teeth and then too soon after you have some fruit and your mouth is just so angry at you? 

We don’t want to do that with the wine. The wine doesn’t deserve it. So, let’s kick it off by talking about some guidelines for pairing red wine.

Red wine goes best with red meat. 

That is the general policy but of course, there are exceptions. Let’s start with why this is the common guidance. 

If you think about a steak, it’s fatty and dense, and that earthy quality of the meat requires something to cut through it. Red wines are highly tannic and that dryness will cut right through the fat without a second thought. The two complement each other without overpowering either.

Red wines are dark chocolate’s best friend.

Reds are typically made with deep red fruits like cherries, berries, and plums. Good dark chocolate should have very similar flavors. Cacao is naturally fruity so when it’s not made into milk chocolate. However, you don’t want to drink a red with a super extra dark chocolate as the bitter nature of the cacao does not go well with the tannic bitterness of the wine. 

Sweet red wines are a good match for the funky cheeses.

There is quite a spectrum of red wines from dry to sweet and everything in between. You want the sweetness to balance out salty and funky flavors like fontina or blue cheese. When we say sweet we don’t mean that bad stuff you drank in college but more along the lines of a good Port. It’s just enough to cut the salt of that cheese.

A Syrah is great with spicy food.

Not all reds are going to be friends with your fiery feast – the bitterness will make the heat feel worse. But a good Syrah is fruit-forward, it’s a little less tannic, and it’s robust to make that fire a little less fueled. 

These are all guidelines – your tastes may be different. For all pairings, try wines on various points of the spectrum; go for some that are drier, some that are sweeter, some that are fruitier, and see how they go with that beefy steak on the grill or the cheeseboard on your weekend. Keep in mind the descriptions of the wines you’re drinking and how they react to what you’re eating.



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