The Basics of Wine Pairings With Food - Sula Vineyards

The Basics of Pairing the Best Wines With Your Favourite Food

Indian vineyards

Are you old enough to drink?

Wine is a drink that can be enjoyed on its own as well as with the company of food. It’s all about your preference, and diving into the world of food and wine pairings is just one of the ways to enjoy this glorious drink! The main thing to keep in mind is to have fun throughout the process. Once you start looking into it, you might face situations where you have the perfect bottle of sparkling rosé wine but are lost about what food to pair it with. Or it could be the other way round, where you have prepared a grand meal but are not sure which wine to purchase to go with it. You would be happy to know that pairing food with wine can be quite easy. Sula has a wide variety of the best wines in India that can go with diverse cuisines and different types of food preparations. If you are ready to know more about the basics of wine pairing, then this guide is for you!


Terms to Understand

Before we dive deep into knowing more about wine and food pairings, it is essential to understand some of the most common wine terms that are used. These are used to describe the wine, and can also be discovered with the help of a wine tasting.

Acidity: Acidity is present in all grapes. It is involved in the preservation of the wine. Higher levels of acidity can be observed in wines that have a more crisp and sharper taste.

Tannin: Tannin is found in the skin, seeds and stems of grapes. The presence of tannin can decide how “tough” or “silky” the wine is.

Dry: Dry wine consists of very little to no sugar.

Body: How heavy a wine feels is an indicator of its “weight”. So, a glass of full-bodied wine is “heavier” and a light-bodied wine is “lighter”. The body of the wine can indicate its flavour, for instance, a glass of full-bodied wine has a stronger aftertaste.


Start With the Weight Balance

One of the basic elements of food and wine pairing is matching the “weight” of both the items, to create balance. When it comes to food, an example of different types of weight could be a heavy red sauce pasta and a more delicate and light salad. The weight of the food can also be determined by its flavours. This means that, a preparation that is intense flavour wise would be considered heavy, whereas a preparation consisting of more subtle flavours would be considered lighter. In wine tasting, the alcohol level is the primary dictator of its body. You can also get this information easily on our website. In the description of every bottle of wine, you will be able to find out if the wine has a low, medium or high body. If you attempt to balance the weight of the pair, it can make for a smoother pairing experience.


But What Are the Different Pairing Methods?

Every wine pairing falls within two categories. These include congruent pairings and complementary pairings.


Congruent Pairings

Congruent pairing creates balance by amplifying the shared flavours between the food and the wine. Even the after taste of the wine can be matched to the flavours of a certain dish to create a good pair. For instance, red wine with a buttery aftertaste can be paired with buttery pasta. The important thing to consider in order to ensure the best congruent pairing experience, is to make sure that the wine is not submerged by the flavours of the food. This can be taken care of by keeping the weight matching aspect in mind. A glass of Rasa Syrah, which is full-bodied, will have a similar flavour profile to grilled meats and thus could make a great congruent pairing. The following universal tips cover all the basics and make it easier for you to understand what you can pair with your preferred glass of wine, to explore different congruent flavour combinations.


Red Wines With Red Meat

The reason that this quick tip works well, is because red wine has the ability to soften the proteins in the meat and also helps enhance the flavours of the fat. The softening is done by the tannin found in red wine. Rasa Zinfandel is an example of such a wine that pairs very well with Pork Stew.


White Wine and Light Meat

White wine pairs well with light meat such as fish and chicken. The acids present are capable of enhancing the taste of fish, as it makes it taste fresher. This process works similar to a lemon being squeezed over a fish to enhance its taste. For instance, Sula Chenin Blanc goes very well with Rawa Fried Fish.


Sweet Wines and Sweet Food

If similar words can be used to describe the wine of your choice and a certain type of food, chances are that they can pair well together. In this way, sweet wines go great with sweet food. A great example of this would be our Sula Late Harvest Chenin Blanc which is India’s first still dessert wine. This drink pairs extremely well with desserts like cheesecake, panna cotta and gulab jamun.


Complementary Pairings

Complementary wine pairings are based on food and wine that share no common flavours, but consist of contrasting tastes instead. Due to the contrast, a pleasant balance is created. Rosé, white wine and sparkling wine can be excellent options for experimentation with complementary pairings. White wine can be paired with spicy dishes, since its sugar can balance out the spice. It can also be paired with salty dishes, since the salt can decrease the sweetness of the wine to bring out its fruity aromas and taste. A glass of Dindori Reserve Chardonnay would pair perfectly with salty popcorn or fried dishes.


Quick Additional Pairing Techniques

Experimentation with food and wine pairings can be made much easier if you keep these simple techniques in mind.


Sweet Wine + Salty Food

If you are a fan of sweet and salty combinations, this pairing would be something you can enjoy to the fullest. A sweet wine paired with salty food can be absolutely delightful. For instance, Sula Riesling can be paired well with fried rice and spring rolls.


Bitter Wine + Fatty Food

Bitter wine which consists of a lot of tannins can go really well with fatty food items. Red wine such as Rasa Zinfandel can pair very well with any preparation rich in potatoes since the fat present in them, manages the balance of the tannin extremely well.


Acidic Wine + Fatty Food

A wine with medium to high acid can add a range of flavours to fatty food. This is the reason why white wine butter sauce is a popular concept. Thus, in a situation where there is something fatty, like a cheesecake, get yourself a glass of Sula Brut and enjoy the experience.


What about Vegetarian Pairings?

There is a misconception that it is difficult to pair wine with vegetarian food, but that is not the case. If you focus on the style of the dish and the way it is cooked, it can be easy to find a good wine match. The same rules of congruency apply in this case too. If the dish is light, like a salad, then it calls for a lighter wine, such as a dry white or rosé. If it is a hot dish like a vegetable stew, it is more likely to pair well with a medium to full-bodied red wine. Examples of such situations would be Sula Riesling pairing well with salads and The Source Cabernet Sauvignon pairing well with kadhai paneer.


How to Pair Indian Food With Ease?

Indian food is incredibly diverse, which only means that there are more flavour combinations and pairings to explore with it along with different types of wine. Asking yourself these two questions will make it easier for you to understand how to go about pairing the two.


What Is the Dish’s Spice Level?

Mildly spicy dishes pair well with dry wines and medium ones pair well with wines that are slightly sweet or off-dry. Basically, you can counterbalance spice with a wine that’s lower in alcohol, which has a bit of sweetness and is served cool. For instance, Sula Shiraz Cabernet, which is served chilled, can match well with dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala and Rajma Masala.


What’s the Sauce?

Indian curries can have an array of sauces involved. A dish made with a cream-based sauce is an excellent pair for red wines, whereas a dish made with tomato-based sauces go well with white wines, since they complement their acidity.


Final Thoughts

At Sula, every wine is made keeping the environment’s best interest in mind, by following sustainable and environment-friendly practices. As India’s most-awarded wine brand, we’re always striving to bring forth quality wines in India, to give you the best wine drinking experiences. We hope that this detailed guide on how to begin your food and wine pairing journey has encouraged you to discover new flavour combinations. Remember, that these are not hard and fast rules, and as long as you are enjoying yourself in the process, you have succeeded.

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