White wine with fish and red wine with meat, true or false?

If you drink wines long enough, you probably heard of the rule of thumb in food pairings: “White wine with fish (seafood) and red wines for meat.”

grilled seabass over risotto

Well, that’s not always the case.

It all depends on how the dish is prepared and sauced.  Keep in mind, when matching up food with wine, we want to think texture and taste.  Take this Sea-bass dish for example, sprinkled with a good dose of black peppers then pan seared to perfection served over a bed of creamy wild mushroom risotto.  This is a very rich dish; maybe a big oaky California Chardonnay could do the trick if we’re sticking to the rule of thumb; however, Burgundy or Spanish Garnacha might be better.  Both are red wine which won’t overpower the fish, while they have enough structure to cut through the creamy risotto.  The earthy tone from French Burgundy is a nice touch to the mushroom flavor presented in the dish.

Beef Capachio

How about red meat with white wine?

Why not? When it comes to red meat, more often than not the rule applies, but not always.  Take Beef Carpaccio with Arugula salad and shaved Parmesan cheese.  Although red meat, but this is rather light dish, a big California Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah will likely render this dish tasteless.  Instead, pairing it with a glass of full-body rich Chardonnay is indeed harmonic.

The food world is constantly evolving with innovative techniques and cross-culture recipes, an ingredient could take on complete different flavor profiles under other preparations.  Remember, when pairing wine with food, it is more important to consider both texture and taste, as oppose to what is being cook.  Cheers!


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