Harmonization is the perfect combination of wine and food. In order to achieve the perfect result, it is necessary to find a balance between the flavors of the food and the characteristics of the wine, so that one does not stand out from the other. It is, therefore, very important to know the characteristics of the wine to be drunk if we want to appreciate it and accompany it properly. We know that wines can be red, white, rosé, sparkling or fortified, and they are all harmonized in different ways.
Harmonize according to the type of wine
How to harmonize Red Wine?
Red wine is a type of wine that requires a stronger combination, dishes with more structure. The milder varieties work perfectly with poultry, lean fish, pasta or risottos prepared with vegetables. The wines of medium intensity and body, harmonize well with game and roasted meat. The strongest varieties combine well with meats such as picanha, barbecue, beef rib and even hamburgers.
How to harmonize White Wine?
The ideal to combine white wines are lighter dishes. Whites with little structure combine with weightless dishes, such as sautéed seafood, sushi, salads and raw vegetables. If the wine is more structured, it is possible to combine it with more complex dishes. For example, tenderloin or filet mignon, or fatty fish like salmon. A white like Chardonnay is ideal to combine with more creamy, cheese-based dishes. The pesto sauce requires a more aromatic wine like Sauvignon Blanc.
How to harmonize Rosé Wine?
Rosé wine is a very versatile type of wine, it is possible to drink it on most occasions. It is a wine that has little or medium presence when it comes to tannins and acidity, which means that it can be combined with a wider range of foods. The lighter ones are good to accompany light and refreshing starters, such as white fish ceviche, sashimi, sweet and sour salad or octopus carpaccio. The most acidic rosés are good for cleaning the palate of fatty and fried dishes, as is the case with roasted chicken, oven-baked rice with bacon and bean stew.
How to harmonize Sparkling Wine?
Sparkling wines are ideal to be served as a starter, however they can also accompany more salty and fatty foods. They are great to accompany a good bean stew since its freshness and acidity take away the flavor of the meat fat. Sweet sparkling wines go well with sweet foods, such as walnut cake, brigadeiro, dulce de leche. They can also accompany a good board of blue cheeses such as gorgonzola and roquefort.
How to harmonize Fortified Wine?
Fortified wines are good to accompany sweets, such as chocolate, brownies and creme brûlée. A great combination is also a mix of nuts, aged cheeses or chestnut-based desserts.
Harmonize according to the type of dish
How to harmonize acidic dishes?
The best to combine this type of dish is a fresh white wine with high acidity.
How to harmonize seafood and Asian dishes?
Dry and aromatic white wines are a good accompaniment to seafood and Asian food. Aromatic wines are a good choice when ingredients such as ginger, herb-prince, citrus zest, onions and sweet peppers are used in a dish.
How to harmonize fish and seafood dishes?
White wines are usually the best option to combine fish and seafood. However, some sauces in the fish can create excellent compatibility with red wine and cooking the fish in this type of wine can work even better.
How to harmonize meat dishes?
There are many possibilities to harmonize meat dishes with wine, the ideal is almost always red wine, with a full-bodied white also playing this role (except for especially rare red meats).
In order to have the perfect result it is necessary to know what type of meat we are going to eat. In the case of barbecue, which is known for the amount of fat and its intense flavor, the ideal is to combine it with a tannic and acid red wine. If the meat is beef tenderloin, a medium to full-bodied red wine is the best option. In the case of a burger, the best option will be a red wine with smaller tannins and medium body.
How to harmonize pasta dishes?
There are many different ways to make pasta dishes and, in order to be able to combine it well with wine, it is important to know the type of sauce that makes up the dish. In the case of pasta made with white or cheese sauce, the ideal is that it is a white wine to accompany, such as a Chardonnay. However, those who do not like white wines can also opt for a light red, as is the case with Pinot Noir.
Pasta made with meat sauce is well accompanied with more full-bodied and warm red wines. In the case of pasta dishes with pesto sauce, the ideal is to combine them with light and fruity white wines.
How to harmonize desserts?
The ideal to accompany a dessert is a fortified wine, such as a Moscatel de Setúbal or a Port wine, both produced in Portugal. This type of wine will perfectly complement many of the flavors found in desserts, especially almonds, chocolate, coffee or citrus notes.