3 ways to compliment and contrast wines with common dishes

You’ve heard of the perfect pairings: Oysters and Muscadet. Caviar and Champagne. Cabernet Sauvignon and grilled steak. The classics are delicious and they work because they compliment food flavors and textures.  But what if you turned things upside down and went the unconventional route? Opposites attract so rather than finding parings with similar flavors and textures, why not mix it up to contrast and counterbalance the pairing?

So if the dish is earthy, pair it with a fruity wine. If the wine is crisp, pair it with a rich, full-flavored dish. If the food is delicate, pair it with something acidic or textural.

For instance, compliment salmon with a Pinot noir; contrast it with a Pinot Grigio.

salmon portland wine chitchatchew

Compliment chicken in a rich creamy sauce with a buttery Chardonnay; contrast it with a dry Vouvray.

creamy chicken portland chitchatchew

Compliment earthy mushrooms with an earthy Pinot noircontrast them with a fruit forward Alsace Riesling.

mushroom portland chitchatchew

Combining wines that are dissimilar in some way creates interesting flavors that really take it to the next level of taste bud awesomeness. In the end, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you discover!

Pamela Heiligenthal

Pamela Heiligenthal is the co-founder and editor of Enobytes.com and the author of Pacific Northwest Cuisine: Mastodons to Molecular Gastronomy

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