BCV Wine & Food: A Love Story
Certain pairings have stood the test of time — Mickey & Minnie, Fred & Ginger, Batman & Robin. But at BCV, we believe the greatest duo of all time is food and wine. When paired with the right foods, wine enhances all flavors, culminating in a romantic union that’s heavenly and cleansing to the palate.
Paired with a sweet dessert, a fruity wine can be the icing on the cake to a wonderful meal. A dry wine with no sweetness will have a bitter impression if paired with sweet foods. Hot, spicy dishes, like Thai cuisine, balance sweeter wines as well, as do saltier foods. When pairing wine and food, it’s important to consider the wine’s acidity (tartness or zest), sweetness (noticeably high sugar levels), saltiness, tannins (dry and astringent, especially on the middle of your tongue and front part of your mouth) and spice.
Here are a few basic principles of successful food and wine pairings:
- Acid needs acid. Any food with a high acidic level — something you’d squeeze a lemon into — needs a highly acidic wine to match. Think pasta with tomato sauce and a Chianti or Sauvignon Blanc.
- Tannins need fat. The dry, pucker feeling of tannins found in red wines need fat for balance: a Cabernet with a nice, juicy Prime Rib.
- Fish needs acid. As a general rule, white wine typically pairs well with fish.
- Pair wines with dominant flavors — not strictly meat. If the sauce on your plate is the dominant flavor, not the pork chop beneath it, then pair that with the wine instead of the meat.
A dry white, like Chardonnay, is very versatile because each style boasts a range of impressive flavors. It’s often paired with lighter meals like chicken, pasta (non-tomato based) or seafood. Different styles of Chardonnay can be paired differently. A hearty, barrel fermented (oaky) Chardonnay, for example, pairs better with fuller bodied foods than a lighter, fruity Chardonnay.
BCV Chardonnay is partially barrel fermented, retaining the natural fruitiness of the grape. It pairs well with any light meal — like this fish piccata recipe or this zesty lime shrimp and avocado salad — as well as soft cheeses, like Brie and Camembert. Our master vintner, Dave Collins, recommends serving Chardonnay slightly warmer than refrigerator temperature (about 45-50 degrees). Fruitier, sweeter wines are best served cold, straight out of the refrigerator. Open Chardonnay about 15 minutes before your meal to breathe. Swirling in the glass will achieve the same effect. But the most important step is last — enjoy!
What’s the best wine and food pairing you’ve ever had? Share your favorites in the comments below.