Grapes And Wine Regions
While moscato is known as a popular white wine, it’s really just the Italian word for an entire family of grapes. Muscat grapes can be made into still, sparkling, red, white, sweet, and fortified wines. Moscato bianco, the family of white muscat grapes including muscat blanc, Alexandria, and blanc à petits grains, has been cultivated for hundreds of years. These grapes are used to make the popular DOCG-certified moscato d’Asti as well as Asti spumante . DOCG stands for “Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita,” or“controlled and guaranteed designation of origin.” It means the wine is made in a specific region according to specific quality regulations.
Regulations specify that both styles can only be produced in Italy’s Piedmont region. The grapes thrive in sunny, dry days and cool nights and are harvested mid to late season depending on the variety and location.
There are a number of different varieties of moscato wine produced in Italy alone:
- Moscato d’Asti: Lightly sparkling , lightly sweet, low-alcohol white wine
- Asti: Also known as Asti spumante Sparkling white wine with about nine percent alcohol
- Moscato di Pantelleria: Amber wine made on the island of Pantelleria a dessert version made from dried grapes is called Passito.
- Moscato Rosa: A sweet red wine from the Trentino-Alto Aldige region of Italy with flavors of berries and spice
American moscato wines can include:
What Are The Top Five Tips For Perfect Wine Pairing
1. Match the biggest flavour in a dish
Thats likely to be herbs, spices, tomatoes, garlic, ginger or vegetables rather than any fish or meat. At very least, herbs and spices could skew the ideal wine.
2. Be led by the grapes
If New Zealand sauvignon blanc tastes wonderful with dill or sage, so will other sauvignons, such as sancerre. You might also try similar-tasting grapes, like verdejo from Spain or bacchus from England
3. Match sweetness
Try this at home: think about the taste of your dry white or red and then try that wine with dessert. The wine will taste dull and fruitless. Its best to match the sweetness of food and wine. Ideally, dont drink your poshest wine with sweet and sour sauce.
4. Acidity matters
If your dish contains sharp elements such as lemon or lime juice, tomato or vinegar, then a zingy wine with good acidity will taste better alongside it, while rounder, softer wines may taste flabby. A wine with higher acidity can also cut through the fattiness of a dish, like vinegar through fish and chips. A wine may have higher acid because it comes from cooler places by the sea, or high in hills or mountains.
5. Dont overpower
How To Pair Wine With Food
Whether you’re going out for a celebration, it’s date night or you just don’t feel like cooking, a great meal can get even better when you order based on excellent food and wine matching. Whatever your taste in wine is, a number of different foods will be able to complement your choice perfectly.
Check out our quick guide below on popular types of wines and which foods they pair best with.
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Apple Tart And Sweet Chenin Blanc
A classic-style French apple tart is, of course, one of the most wine-friendly of desserts but it has a particular affinity with the best Loire dessert wines such as Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume. Dont overelaborate add cream, if anything.
Other good options with apple tart: Sauternes or similar sweet Bordeaux, Vendange Tardive Gewurztraminer
Its All About Balance
If you dont remember anything else about matching food and wine, remember this: balance is key.
Think of wine as a sauce. You probably wouldnt drizzle an unctuous meat gravy over a fillet of lemon sole, because the boldness of the sauce would overpower the delicacy of the fish. Similarly, a delicate herb-flecked white wine sauce would be lost on a charred hunk of steak because the richness of the fat and seared meat would overpower the delicate flavours. Try matching full-bodied wines, with relatively high alcohol to full-flavoured dishes lighter, less alcoholic styles, suit more subtle flavours.
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Why Wine Pairings Aren’t Just For Fine Food
Food and wine pairings have evolved immensely over the past few decades and no longer sit solely in the domain of haute cuisine. While it seems that for every rule, there is a naysayer that opposes it, there are a few general guidelines one can follow when attempting to match the best wine to a certain dish or cuisine.
Red Sauce And Sangiovese
Sangiovese is the leading red variety in Italys Chianti wines. Typical tasting notes include red fruits, tomatoes, and dried oregano. The latter two descriptors also feature prominently in traditional tomato sauces, making this pairing a no-brainer.
Sangiovese wines range in style from fruit-forward to tannic and savory. The younger, fruity style interacts best with sweet tomato sauce, with the wines peppery and clove-spice flavors adding further seasoning to the dish. Young Sangioveses also tend to be more affordable, making them ideal for midweek pasta nights.
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Champagne Goes With Everything
Sparkling wines are very versatile and can be paired with many dishes. You can even pair sparkling wines with fried foods. The carbonation cuts through the saltiness and balances the flavor of the fat, which is another reason that beer is a popular option with fried food. Lets face it: Sparkling wines turn everything into a celebration!
Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairings
Because Cabernet Sauvignon wine has a more intense, bold, flavor the food that pairs well with it should be heartier and richer in order to cut through the wine. If you pair this wine with a lighter dish, like some fish, the flavor of the wine is going to completely overwhelm the food itself, which isnt what were going for.
When pairing food and wine the most important thing is to make sure that they compliment each other and dont overpower one another.
Cabernet Sauvignon is usually best paired with a red meat entrée, but can also go well with vegetarian meals such as portobello mushrooms and certain cheeses.
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What Kind Of Food Goes Well With Red Wine
Light red wine can pair with rich seafoods like salmon or stuffed squid because it wont overpower the dish like a bold red would. Photo Credit: Wikipedia CC user Kirti Poddar
A few months ago, I had a hankering for blackened salmon, so I found the perfect recipe and ended up with a beautiful dinner that just needed a good wine to go with it. The only problem was that my white wine collection wasnt up to the task. As I looked through my wine fridge, I saw beautiful bottles of dry Chenin Blanc, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and California Chardonnay, but none of these wines were bold enough to handle an oily, spicy salmon. I decided to experiment with a bottle of fruity Merlot instead, and the combination was stunning the red fruit balanced out the salmons fattiness perfectly. The kind of food that goes well with red wine isnt limited to steak dinners or hearty stews. You can pair red wines with delicate hors doeuvres, chicken, and even fish, as long as you understand how to choreograph the different flavors at work.
Ros Pairs With Cheesy Dishes
Cheeses come in all different types of flavours and textures, which means they can make wine pairings challenging. If youre ever in doubt, Rosé tastes great with every type of cheese. The reason why is because Rosé embodies the acidity of white wines and the sweetness of red wines.
If youre more in the mood to have snacks with wine, you can create grown-up grilled cheese sandwiches. Grilled cheese and wine will hit the spot without making you feel too full.
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Cabernet Sauvignon: Molten Chocolate Cake
The key with pairing wine and chocolate is to consider the level of sugar and dairy fatwhat goes nicely with milk or white chocolate simply wouldn’t work for a darker, semi-sweet version. This decadent molten chocolate cake, which incorporates bittersweet chocolate, calls for a dry Cabits fruit-forward flavors enhance the richness of the dessert without overpowering it. If your sweet tooth is especially strong, you can also pair this cake with a dessert wine, like vintage or tawny port.
Get our recipe for Molten Chocolate Cake.
More Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any low fat, low calorie Mexican dishes?
Yes! There might be a wrong idea about Mexican Food being heavy, but there is actually a whole history of the almost entirely vegetarian and fat-free culture behind the original inhabitant of Mexico. Actually, most of the fats now used in Mexican cuisine were brought by the Spanish Conquest.
What is Mexicos national drink?
The most iconic Mexican liquor is called Tequila. This spirit is made based in the agave plant, and it is mainly produced surrounding the city of Tequila! Yes, there is a city with that nameTequila might be a little strong to pair it as a refreshment beverage with food , but it might be a good way of finishing a nice Mexican dinner.
Does Mexico produce wine?
Even though Mexico might be best known for its tequila, Mexico do produce wine, especially in Baja California where 90% of Mexican Wine is produced.
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Fruit Snacks And Fizzy Sangria
Bursting with delicious fruit flavors and notorious for disappearing as soon as you open them , fruit snacks pair perfectly with our Fizzy Sangria. Sangria is known for its variety of flavors, and you best believe it washes down your handfuls of blackberry, raspberry, cherry, pineapple, orange, apple, grape, lemon, ETC. fruit snacks.
What Are Some Staples Of Mexican Food
Accompanying those flavors are some of the staples of Mexican food, which include a variety of starches and vegetables which serve as a canvas of sorts for a variety of meals. Corn is incredibly important, and used to make tortillas, and is also found in enchiladas, quesadillas, and tacos, as well as some salads, dips, and sides.
Tomatoes are nearly as important or just as much so in some ways, adding bright and sweet to succulent or even smoky notes to dishes. Salsa, sauces, freshly chopped, stewed are all ways tomatoes are incorporated.
Avocados are used to provide creamy, rich components and help balance salty and spicy flavors. Though most commonly mashed, avocados are also served finely minced with a number of main dishes.
Beans, of course, are another staple. Red, black, yellow and even purple beans are popular. Beans and rice accompany many main meals, often alongside a protein such as chicken or fish.
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Food And Wine Pairing Basics
Learn food and wine pairing basics so you can create your own pairings. This guide will show you the steps on how to pair. Youll also learn what to look for in a recipe in order to make great wine matches.
A great food and wine pairing creates a balance between the components of a dish and the characteristics of a wine.
As much as pairing food and wine is complex, the basics are simple to grasp.
9 Tips For Pairing Wine & Food
If youre just getting started, youll find these tried-and-true methodologies to produce consistently great pairings. That said, as you get more familiar with different wines, youll become confident and can experiment breaking the rules!
Congruent Pairings vs Contrasting Pairings
A contrasting pairing creates balance by contrasting tastes and flavors.
A congruent pairing creates balance by amplifying shared flavor compounds.
Sangiovese Pairs With Pizza And Other Tomato
Since pizza, pasta, and other tomato-based dishes are Italian, it only makes sense to pair these foods with a glass of good Italian wine. The reason why Italian wines work well with tomato is because they help complement the acidity. Other wines have the potential to leave a metallic aftertaste in your mouth.
The older the Sangiovese wine is, the fruitier it gets. Before you take your first sip, take some time to appreciate the subtle scents of figs, cherries, and roses.
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The Right Wine Pairings For Italian Food
Just like the French, Italians are well known for producing some of the worlds finest food and wine, focusing on regionality and seasonality. Therefore, when choosing the right wine for an Italian-inspired dish, look at the dishes roots. Try to pick a wine from the same region as it will have similar flavor profile as the dish.
Having said this, experimenting with wine from other regions can also produce some wonderful and surprising results.
Some Italian food and wine pairing suggestions:
For tomato-based red sauces :
Macari Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Lifeforce & Local Cheese Boards
The superb Macari Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Lifeforce is fermented in a concrete egg, which lends a purity of fruit expression and a heightened level of flavora perfect match for our regions goat cheeses and runny soft cheeses. As charcuterie and cheese boards continue to rise in popularity, this Sauvignon Blanc will give your personal board a delightful lift.
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Pairing Wine And Cheese
We dont think there are too many surprises in our guide to pairing wine and cheese. The list below mainly obeys the principle: if it grows together, it goes together. Cheese and wine is like many other food and wine pairings, there are so many types of cheese from all around the world. And the cheeses all have unique characteristics in terms of fat, flavour and texture. Use our basic pairing rules to try out your own wine and cheese pairings at home.
Wine and Cheese
Wine and cheese pairing basics:
- If it grows together, it goes together.
- Fatty cheese prefers a tannic wine
- Acidic/salty cheese prefers an acidic wine
Best resources for pairing wine and cheese
- Eataly: How to Pair Wine and Cheese
Best Red Wine With Greek Food
Overall, Xinomavro would be my choice for Greek food wine pairing if I only could pick one. Like Assyrtiko, its the acidity of Xinomavro that makes it the best wine with Greek food. Acidity is key to cutting through olive oil based dishes and fatty meats like lamb. Xinomavro also has an unique tomato leaf flavor that complements tomato-based stews. Chianti Classico would be a fair substitute.
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How About Very Rich Fatty Dishes
With fried foods, you want a crisp, light or sparkling wine to cut through the oil. It cleanses your palate, allowing you to taste the fish or chicken.
Sometimes, you want to contrast, not complement, the dish and the wine. If the dish is creamy and rich, it might render a rich, creamy wine like a warm-climate Chardonnay flabby. It that case, an acidic wine could cut the richness and allow both flavors to shine.
A lamb or beef dish swimming in a rich, nuanced sauce might cause for a big, powerful red wine to showcase those flavors.
Wine And Food Pairing With Lamb
Lamb dishes are one of the most wine-friendly types of meal. Lamb is equally at home with new world and old world style reds. Typically we would not serve a white wine with a lamb meal, they are simply not robust enough and would disappear under the weight of the heavy meat and rich sauces. However, a traditional Bordeaux blend is perfect for serving with most styles of European-style lamb meal.
The two main factors for choosing a wine pairing for a lamb meal are the age of the lamb, and the length of cooking time.
Wine and Lamb
Wine and lamb pairing basics:
- Smaller cuts of quickly cooked young lamb pair well with medium-bodied European red wines or even Sparkling Rosé.
- Older, fattier cuts of lamb that are slow roasted are better paired with heavy tannic red wines.
- Exotic lamb dishes such as Lamb Tagine or even a Rogan Josh would benefit from an aromatic white such as a Gewürztraminer.
|Pinot Noir or Sparkling Rosé|
|Slow-roast Lamb Shoulder||Ribera del Duero or Rioja|
|Lamb Rogan Josh|
Best resources for pairing wine and lamb
- Epicurious: Lamb and Wine
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