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Perfect pairings of food and wine

Which wine goes with which food? There are very few hard and fast rules as tastes simply vary too widely. What's more, every palate registers flavours and consistency differently. When exploring new pairings, follow our tips and rules so that your sense of adventure is rewarded with some terrific discoveries.

Pairing food and wine: the basic rules

Heavy food calls for heavy wine, light food light wine, fragrant food fragrant wine.
The most important rule is: the “weight” of the wine should be matched to the weight of the food. Heavy food calls for heavy wine, light food light wine, fragrant food fragrant wine. Example: a substantial pasta dish with cream and porcini mushrooms would overpower a neutral, light Chasselas. In contrast, a full-bodied red wine such as Brunello di Montalcino, pressed from Sangiovese grapes, has the well-rounded aroma and intensity needed to complement the dish.
For anyone who has the time to delve more deeply into the subject of wines and food, there are a few more rules to bear in mind: the acidity of the wine and the acidity of the food should be in balance. This means that strongly acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, lemon juice, tomatoes or crème fraîche, should not be served with an acidic wine. Ideally, wines with a low alcohol content should be drunk with hot and spicy food, otherwise the alcohol and the spiciness combine to fiery effect. And whenever possible, you should drink semi-dry or sweet wines with very hot and spicy dishes, as sweetness helps temper the spiciness.
Generally speaking, it's a safe bet to pair local dishes and wines. Over time (and, if you like, by making a few of your own notes) you discover which pairings are your personal favourites.
The seasons also play a role when it comes to pairing wine and dishes: whilst some wines are best drunk in summer, there are others that taste better during the dark, cold season, such as tannin-rich and heavy red wines. When it's warm outside, many people prefer the more zingy and fruity white wines with their food. 

Wine and foods: when opposites attract

Any wine lover with gourmet culinary learnings is undoubtedly already familiar with the above rules. Nowadays, however, these rules are more fluid, as much has changed on the culinary scene and in the selection of wines – so why not break out of your comfort zone and try out new pairings? Many swear by opposites, or contrasts: for example, try a dry or semi-dry wine with dessert – the sweetness of the dishes makes semi-dry wine seem dry. The result is a strong contrast between food and wine. Whilst some find the idea off-putting, for others opposites taste particularly good together.
Needless to say, these are just general guidelines which by no means suit all tastes. So: don't be afraid to experiment and try lots of combinations. Have fun discovering new and fascinating pairings, and – bon appetit!