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Wine and Food Guidelines for Christmas: Or anytime really .. No2

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

Some hints to help you match your wine to the meal, especially at Christmas.

Try to match the flavor intensity of the Food & Wine –

Wine affects Food more than food affects wine.


Identifying Basic Tastes - There are over 20 different tastes in Food – We only need 6!


a)  Spiciness  b) Sweet c) Salt  d) Fat  e) Acid f) Bitter


1.   Acid Increases the perception of Sweetness, Fruitiness & Body in the wine.

2.   SALT INCREASES the perception of Body in the wine 

3. Both Acid and Salt are Flavour enhancers.

4.  SALT DECREASES the perception of Bitterness & Acidity in the wine = Salt Softens the wine.

5.   ACID (Sour) and SALT and FAT are “Wine & Food” Friendly.


Difficult Food Matches – SWEETNESS / BITTERNESS & UMAMI (that lingering, mouth filling feeling in your mouth, produced by glutamates, e.g MSG, the savoury, meaty characters that deepen flavours often found in Soy foods, mushrooms, aged-meats, aged cheeses, tomatoes, seafood etc) 

1.     SWEETNESS Increases the perception of Acidity; Bitterness and Alcohol Burn of Wine.

2.     SWEETNESS Decreases the perception of Body / Sweetness and Fruitiness in Wine.

3.     The MATCH is a wine with a HIGHER level of SWEETNESS to the Food.


Bad Wine & Food Matches: 

1.    CHILI HEAT Decreases the perception of BODY / RICHNESS / SWEETNESS & FRUITINESS of Wine.

2.     CHILI HEAT Increases the Alcohol Burn.

3.     Use SWEET Wines if you must – and nice and COLD.


Match the body and flavour intensities of both wines and food: 

1.     CURRY – Use slightly Sweet Wines.

2.     DARK SALTY CARAMEL - Sweet Wine.

3.     Blue Cheese – Sweet Wine.

4.     ACID & TANNIN & FAT – Acid and Tannin cuts through the richness of the Food and cleans the palate.

“General Guidlines” of Wine and Food Pairing: 

1.     Wine to be MORE ACIDIC than the Food.

2.     Wine to be SWEETER than the Food.

3.     Wine to have the same Flavour Intensity than the Food.

4.     Red Wine pairs best with Bold-Flavoured Meats, e.g. Red meats and Lamb.

5.     White Wine pairs best with Light-Intensity meats, e.g. Fish and Chicken.

6.     Bitter Wines, e.g. Red Wines with Tannins, are best balanced with FATTY Food.

7.     BETTER to Match the Wine with the SAUCE, rather than the meat.

8.     Sparkling Wine and Rose’s, generally, create more complementary pairing – balanced by contrasting flavours.

9.     Generally Red Wine will create CONGRUENT Pairings – Compatible Flavours.


In Summary: Wine & Food Pairings are a balance between the components of the Food and the Characteristics of the Wine – SIMPLIFY each DISH into its basic tastes and then seek a Wine using 1 of 2 pairing Ideologies: Complimentary or Harmonious, similar.

Next chat we might do some Wine and Chocolate matching before I get into the real purpose of my chats.

Thank you for reading. We put all this information into practical use during my StelaVino Guided Wine Tour in Hobart, Tasmania. Contact me if you want to join the fun.

Please send me any questions or comments / corrections / updates to improve our experience.

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1 Comment

Angelica Pasten-Anderson
Angelica Pasten-Anderson
Dec 13, 2023

Good advice on wine pairings Stel. I now finally know what to serve with a curry. Thanks and Merry Christmas.

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