Great wine and food pairing can be a surprise and delight. When done well, it emphasizes similarities or highlights the contrasts between the wine and the dish.
Matching wine with your food can be a very personal choice and an opportunity to knock convention on its head. Don't be afraid to think beyond the simple "red with meat and white with fish". Make your choice not merely by color but by the texture, flavor, and aroma of the dish and look for a complementary match. Above all, go with what your nose and taste buds tell you.
When planning a meal, think of wines that accompany each course. As a rule of thumb, start with lighter wines then progress to the heavier, darker ones. Start with white before red and leave the sweetest until last. Dessert wines should be as sweet, or sweeter than, the dish they accompany.
A good wine pairing generally either complements or contrasts the main ingredient of a dish. White wine pairs well with fish because light food and light wine just go together. Likewise, heavy red meats are complemented by full-bodied red wines. But don't overlook the secondary flavors of a dish that come from ingredients such as spices, herbs, sauces, and fats that can be enhanced and complemented by your choice of wine.
Great wine and food pairing can be a surprise and delight. When done well, it emphasizes similarities or highlights the contrasts between the wine and the dish. Here are a few well-accepted pairing suggestions from the Wharf’s menu and its huge selection of premier wines in the Cayman Islands that are sure to please:
Sparkling Wines: Light, effervescent and acidic, sparkling wine is a perfect complement to a romantic dinner in the Cayman Islands. It was designed for dishes such as caviar and shellfish, as well as adding a wonderful sharp contrast to heavy cream cheeses.
Riesling: Along with Chenin Blanc, these fruity and light wines pair well with most game birds, Asian spices, and any dish with plenty of citrus.
Merlot: A big hearty Merlot is a perfect partner that will both tame and enhance the rich flavors of red and game meat. Similarly, try a Spanish black-grape Tempranillo. All three go beautifully with red meats, mushrooms, and just about any pork dish.
Cabernet Sauvignon: A widely recognized and popular variety, Cabernet Sauvignon is well-known for its ability to bring out the best in rich, red meats and game, as well as sausages and anything heavily peppered. Along with Syrah and Zinfandel, it is also a firm favorite when the cheese board comes round, especially aged, hard cheeses and blue cheeses.
Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc: These wines pair exceptionally well with just about the entire range of sausages and charcuterie found in a French delicatessen. They also pair beautifully with cherries, berries, and any aged or strong cheese.
Chardonnay and Semillon: Not all white wines are a good accompaniment to both game and fish, but these two varieties, along with the Rhone Valley’s famous Viognier, have a versatility that allows pairings with poultry, fish, shellfish and dishes heavy on butter and cream.
Rosé Wines: The summertime go-to favorite, rosé wine is nothing if not versatile. It works very well with smoked meats, sausages, all kinds of cheeses and dishes with big, bold spices.
Dessert Wines: Sweet and high in alcohol, the general rule for a dessert wine is to pair it with a dish that has less sweetness than the wine. Or pair with chocolate, nuts, or dried fruit as you would a sherry. For a surprising and pleasant contrast, try a sweet Sauternes in its traditional pairing with foie gras. You’ll never look at a dessert wine the same again.