Wine pairing can be enjoyed at local gourmet restaurants, by visiting world-renowned wine estates or can be set up at an event as a relaxing networking activity. Pairing options range from gourmet meals and cheeses to chocolate, canapés, local delicacies and more. Wine stewards are trained in assisting guests with selecting the best suited wines to complement the culinary fare.
The art of wine pairing
Tastes are subjective and therefore pairing wine with food, desserts, canapés, cheese and chocolate is more of an art than an exact science. Successful pairings make both the food and wine taste better when consumed together. Considering some simple guidelines can help to make better pairings. Most importantly, the aim is to eat and drink what you enjoy!
- Base wine options on what you like
- Base food options on what you enjoy eating
- Adapt food preparation, flavouring and richness to produce a great match.
Food and Wine pairing
Food and wine pairing must result in both elements shining. This can be achieved by carefully considering the intensity, weight and ingredients of the dish - such as sugar, fat, acid, salt, cream and spices. What often works well, is matching the wine to the weight and intensity of the most prominent element in the dish. Here are some more ideas:
- Spicy foods - wines that have residual sugars will cool the spice, resulting in a smooth, pleasing union.
- Grilled - oak aged wines are intense and are tamed by grilled foods of matching intensity.
- Cream-based - match the common flavours, textures and intensity to complement each other.
- Fats and acids - Pair rich foods, excluding creamy sauces, with acid or tannin to mellow out the richness in the food and smooth out the flavours.
- Salty - salty foods can be paired with off-dry, slightly sweet or sweet wines. Salty and sweet pairings form a magical savoury, fruity taste sensation and for many this is a favourite.
- Dessert - wine that is as sweet, or sweeter than the dessert works well and complements the flavours.
Wine and Chocolate indulgence
Pairing wine with chocolate can be a match made in heaven! Discovering which wine complements which chocolate is not a straightforward pairing - it takes a bit of experimenting to find the best combinations to suit your taste. Try to keep the wine sweeter than the chocolate for achieving smooth synergies of a well-paired union.
Wine and Cheese pairing
Get creative with cheese pairings – from Blue cheese with Port to many other great combinations.
Adding wine pairing to your tour
I strongly suggest that you include this delightful touring activity, whenever possible, into your itinerary - either at wine farms or as part of event activities. A wine pairing experience with canapés or cocktail snacks can be arranged at a gourmet restaurant, wine estate or can be set-up at any venue to precede lunch or dinner. This is a welcome social escape between other event engagements, and can serve as a great networking opportunity. For ideas on how to include wine pairing into your tour, have a look at the example itineraries on my website.
Other activities to combine with wine-pairing:
- Wine farm/cellar tour
- Wine tasting
- Gourmet lunch
- Helicopter flight
- Outdoor picnic