food and beverage underground

Understanding Food And Wine Pairing

Food and wine pairing is as versatile as different styles of wines. The old adage of whites with fish, and red with meat is gone. First, Drink what you like, regardless of the rules. There are different factors to take into account while considering the perfect match. Sauces can be a big determining factor in choosing your choice, whether a bracing vinaigrette, or a rich demi-glace. By understanding the basics of wines, you can make this choice with ease.


LIGHT BODIED & SWEET; example - Rieslings

  • -has abundant fruit
  • -summer time, picnics

LIGHT BODIED & FRUITY; example - Albarino

  • -crisp, delicate
  • -seafood, salads, & vegetables

MEDIUM BODIED; example - Viognier

  • -mild & fruity, smooth
  • -seafoods & grilled chicken
FULL BODIED; example - Chardonnay
  • -rich, luscious, sometimes lots of oak
  • -shellfish, fish, pork, and creamy dishes
SPARKLING; example – Prosecco, Champagne
light and crisp
-appetizers, spicy foods, Chinese, & desserts
BLUSHES; examples – Roses, and White Zinfandel
-abundant fruit
-summer picnics, hot dogs
SPARKLING; example – Prosecco, Champagne
  • -light and crisp
  • -appetizers, spicy foods, Chinese, & desserts
BLUSHES; examples – Roses, and White Zinfandel
-abundant fruit
-summer picnics, hot dogs

Stone fruits – Apple, Pear, Peach, Apricot
Citrus fruits – Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine
Tropical fruits – Pineapple, banana, Mango, Guava, Kiwi
Floral – Acacia, hawthorn

Processing Flavors

Malolactic – butter, cream, nutty
Oak ( light ) vanilla, sweet wood
Oak (heavy) oak, smoke, toast, lees, yeast
Terrior – flint, mineral, mint

Malolactic Fermentation

  • Bacteria that is either in the cellars naturally or purchased
  • to change sharp, harsh Malic acid to smooth, soft Lactic Acid (acid in Milk)
  • also reduces the acidity
  • Climate, Terrior, Winemaking are the influences that make up wine.

Cool climate vs. Warm Climate

Grown in a cool climate Chard like in Burgundy tends to be high in acidity (crisp, tart) and low in alcohol. A warm climate like in Australia, much of California produces Chardonnay low in acidity (soft, plump) and higher in alcohol.

The characteristics are affected by the time the vine in the sun, allowing the grape to ripen. Cool climate Chards tends towards apple, pear and lemons; warm climate Chardonnay reaches into tropical fruit like mango, banana and fig.

The mouthfeel, weight (body) is the result of a wine’s alcohol, and compounds which develop in the later stages of ripening. With this information one could conclude that cool climate Chards will tend to be lighter bodied than ones produced in a warm climate with the luxury of a longer hang time and longer ripening process.

Cool Climate

  • good acidity to keep a fresh taste
  • good balance of apple flavors

Cool Regions

Napa – Carneros – higher acidity with great aromas & structure
Sonoma – Sonoma coast, Dry Creek, Russian River, Carneros from light to medium bodied, good acidity, fresh, lively fruit flavors
Central Coast – Monterey to Santa Barbara Fruit forward flavors, intense fruit, bracing acidity
Australia - good acid, elegance and balance

Warm Regions

Show honey, buttery flavor, tropical fruits
Napa Mid valley – less pronounced floral, more body, lower acidity
Higher elevation – leaner, more focused, citrus fruit, spicy aromas

Warm Regions

Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Knights Valley, Sonoma Valley

* softer acidity, round, rich, ripe fruit flavors

Some examples of ;

Fruity – Low oak Chardonnay

  • La Terre
  • Louis Latour Pouilly Fuisse
  • Sebastiani
  • Chateau st Jean
Ripe – Creamy
  • Rosemount Estate Australia
  • Cakebread Napa
  • Rodney Strong Sonoma
  • Beringer Napa
  • Simi Sonoma
  • Lincourt Santa Barbara
  • Kumeu River New Zealand

From Chardonnay to Bordeaux Wine

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