Rule #1: More Than Just Flavor
Pairing food and wine and more than just flavor. Think about the weight, texture, structure, and bouquet of both wine and food. For example, choose earthy wines with earthy foods. Earthiness is often found in Pinot Noir making this wine a great partner for equally earthy ingredients like Bison steaks or wild mushrooms. Allow the wine and food to complement each other in such a way that your attention can be drawn from the wine to the food and back again without losing the essence of either.
Rule #2: Cooking Method Matters
The way the food is prepared will affect how it interacts with the wine. For example, chicken that has been roasted makes it richer with more fat which requires a heavier texture wine. If the chicken is barbecued, the chicken becomes smoky and goes well with a wine aged in wood like a Chardonnay.
Rule #3: Learn to Taste Wine & Food Together
Learn to pair wine and food beyond the common pairings by practicing how to taste them together. First, take wine in your mouth and swallow. Ask yourself what you smell and taste. Looks for familiar flavors. Decide if the wine is light or heavy. Then consider the sweetness or acidity of the wine. Take your conclusions and try to match them to similar foods. Find at least one aspect that corresponds with the food (sweetness, flavor, texture, etc.) Now try a small piece of food. Eat a small piece. Consider how it tastes and notice any aftertaste. If it’s a pleasant experience, it’s a good pairing.