Yes, sparkling wines are often a less expensive option than Champagne, but price is not always indicative of quality.
In the spirit of sharing, I have listed a few common wine mistakes whilst gravely praying that you don’t assume I’m guilty of all of them.
Most people enjoy drinking wine and it is a product that is present in their daily lives; yet it often still provokes a deep sense of insecurity and vacillation on behalf of the drinker. Will people judge me for my wine choice? Am I doing it properly? We’ve all had these anxieties before. So, let's run through how to bluff your way into looking like an expert.
The only hard and fast rule is to always select a wine that appeals to your personal taste. It is no fun drinking a wine you don't like just because someone somewhere said it matches your food!
That said, there are some basic guidelines that can help you maximise your enjoyment of food and wine pairing...
The weight of a dish is the most important thing to take into account; try to balance the weight of the food with the weight of the wine so that neither overwhelms the other.
Similarly, try to balance the flavour intensity of the wine and the food. By flavour intensity we mean the degree of flavour that a dish has; ranging from bland to spicy.
Taste is often the main driver of successful pairings. The six main categories are:
Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilised.Andre Simon
Acid gives food a sour or tart taste, for example in apples, citrus fruit and vinegar. For a good match, choose a wine with an equal amount of acidity. If the wine is less acidic than the food, it 'thins out' and can taste flat and dull.
When choosing wines with salty foods (such as anchovies, bacon, miso and olives), choose wines with residual sugar. Avoid very tannic or high-alcohol wines.
Bitter food (such as arugula, cabbage and turnips) increases the bitterness of wine. Since our tastebuds are very sensitive to bitterness, it’s important to avoid bitter and tannic wines. Choose a crisp and high-acid white, or a soft and fruity red.
Umami occurs naturally in many foods and is also added in the form of MSG. High levels of umami taste are found in many foods considered "wine enemies", such as asparagus and mushrooms. Avoid very oaky or tannic wines - instead, go for a low-tannin, high-acidity wine.
Sweetness is a major culprit for creating unpleasant food and wine interactions - wine should be equal to, or higher in sugar, than the dish. If the wine is not as sweet as the food, it will taste sour, a little bitter, and will appear sharper and less fruity.
Food flavoured with black pepper, wasabi, mustard seed, clove or horseradish can easily overpower a wine.For a good wine match with spicy food, go for an off-dry white wine, and avoid oaky and bitter wines.
Shakira, a self-confessed wine geek, had the idea for a food and wine pairing app in October 2013 when she was at a restaurant with a few friends and was asked to choose the wine. It got her thinking – wouldn’t it be great if there were an app for that? She promptly approached Vikas, a techie she met at university, about the idea. Vikas loved it, and Grappled (formerly known as Grapeful) was born.
Shakira holds a degree in political science from the London School of Economics and is qualified up to Level 3 at the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. She left the investment management industry to pursue her passions for wine and food, and is responsible for strategy, marketing and content at Grappled. She has a place on Duke's MBA programme to start in the fall of 2015.
Vikas graduated from the London School of Economics with a masters degree in Management of Information systems as well as a bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Manchester. He currently works as an associate quant at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Do you have a question for us? Or do you simply want to tell us about an awesome wine you tasted?
We're all ears - just email us at h...@grappledapp.com and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
If you encounter a problem with the app or website, please email us at s...@grappledapp.com and our support team will get back to you as soon as possible.