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Red White or Rose?

Three Tips to Picking the Right Color Wine for Any Dish

Red White or Rose? Three Easy Pairing Tips

When you're deciding on a wine to serve with a particular dish, there's one question you have to decide first: Red, White, or Rose? Picking the right color wine is a key part of getting the pairing right - so how do you choose? We make it super-easy with three no-brainer tips to this pairing question.

#1) Match Meat Color to Your Wine Color

OK, we get that this sounds maybe a little silly. But it's a simple rule that actually has a strong basis in flavor science.
Red wine (and roses) get their color from being fermented together with grape skins. This process adds  tannin, which gives the wine more bitterness, as well as bolder flavors. In meat, darker types of meat come from muscles that are used more, and therefore have more fat and the protein myoglobin. The more fat and myoglobin, the richer and gamier the meat.

Since rich flavors pair better with rich flavors, and delicate with delicate, this rule just works. If you're dish doesn't have a meat, consider the 'meatiness' of whatever is the main ingredient. Portabello mushroom = very meaty (think red). Tofu = not so meaty (think white or rose). Or consider sauce and spice, our Rules #2 and #3.

Tip #2: Change the Pairing if the Sauce + Meat Don't "Match"

Let's take the famous French dish Chicken Coq au Vin. You might be thinking "chicken - pair with white wine, right"? Probably in most cases, yes. But what about chicken that's been stewed in red wine? From experience I'll tell you it tastes better with red wine. That's because the sauce has such a powerful flavor of red wine it just 'goes' with a red. And this d
oesn't just impact dishes cooked in wine - some sauces just cry out for a pairing choice that's not the same as what the meat is telling you.

So if the meat and the category of the sauce don't match, you'll  have to decide whether you adjust your pairing or leave it as is. Our tip is to consider how dominant the sauce is in the dish. If it's a stewing liquid, like in the Coq au Vin example, it's going to be a major element and you'll need to pair to that. If it's not the star, like a small amount of creamy sauce accompanying a steak, don't change the pairing category.

TIP #3: Balance Spicy with Sweet

There are a few types of flavor that can just plain derail a wine pairing. Spiciness can alter your perception of a wine and make it less enjoyable if it's not a wine that can take the heat. What wine is best for spicy food? A white that's a little sweet (see our full post on Wine Pairing for Spicy Food) cools the heat and cuts through that spice better than any dry wine - red, white or rose. There are some non-Whites that can work with spicy food, but for no-fail pairings, stick with the off-dry Whites here. 

Tell us about your favorite wine pairings: amyandmike@easyfoodandwine.com

Next Article:  Summer BBQ Wines
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