Recently, a relative of mine with a catering service admitted that wine pairings stump him. He said that it stumps him when he is out to dinner at a restaurant so he asked my advice. My suggestion is that the safest thing anyone can do when out(you will never have to fear looking bad in front of you dining companion) is to ask the waiter what the chef would recommend with the dish. He or she knows what works best with the specific dish. On a broader level of pairing, here are a few tips for private and social dining wine pairing with meats:
- Poultry – Pairing can go many directions depending of the preparation. Lighter more subtle preparations pair better with a White Burgundy, Chardonnay, or Chablis. If the dish is heavy and spicy, it will pair better with a lighter fruiter red wine such as Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, or Beaujolais.
- Beef – Any fine red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Zinfandel, or Pinot Noir
- Ham & Pork-Fruity Red Wines such as Beaujolais, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir pair well with sweeter preparations. For the mild savory preparations, try a dry white wine such as White Burgundy, or Chardonnay. For the highly savory and spicy dish, pair with a big Cabernet Sauvignon.
Salmon – White Burgundy, Chardonnay, or Riesling
Scallops – Chablis, Gewurztraminer, or White Burgundy
Cod – White flaky fish pairs better with a red variety such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais
Clams and Mussels – White Graves, Chablis, Chardonnay
Shrimp and Lobster – Chablis, Chardonnay, White Burgundy
Article Commentary by MCCN Editor-Crystal J