You Don’t Have To Be a Sommelier to Make a Statement

When it comes time for your next dinner party, holiday or special occasion, you want to kick it up a notch and really “wow” your company with an exquisite meal perfectly paired with a wine or two. While most fine dining restaurants employ a wine expert to pair wine with food – often titled with the French term “sommelier” – chances are you must rely on some other source to glean your expertise from.

To help guide you through your next get-together successfully, here are a few simple tips to keep in mind when pairing food and wine.

  • Pick a wine that you like. If you simply cannot stand the taste of a heavy red wine, don’t feel like it’s required for a certain dish. The foundation of a great food and wine pairing consists of both a meal and a drink that you already enjoy. Without those two elements, the meal is destined to fall short.
  • Aim for balance. A heavy dish should be paired with a hearty wine, such as rich lamb chops with a full Cabernet Sauvignon. The “weight” of a food can often be determined by its fat content, while the “weight” of the wine is evident in the color and alcohol content.
  • Find and implement flavor connections. This is where the art of pairing wines with food can get really fun as you express your creativity. If you pick up herbal or fruity notes in your favorite wine, try to mimic those aromatics in your dish. For example, create a citrus glaze for your pork tenderloin if your featured wine has bright, citrus notes. You can also try adding rosemary to your roasted chicken if your Sauvignon Blanc has a more herbal tone. The complimentary flavors will enhance each other, transforming the meal from a regular dinner to a memorable experience.

If you need some more hands-on help with your next menu planning, consider attending one of Twin Pine’s featured food-and-wine pairings, an event where a different winemaker is featured each month. After seeing these tips in action within the restaurant, you’ll be more prepared to shock your guests when you pair wine with food at your next dinner party.