Selecting a wine that complements a particular dish can be intimidating. Here’s a cheat sheet if you need a little help.
Location: Cuisine styles from a region often match with the wine that originated in that general area. Italian dishes and recipes, like Bolognese sauce, for example, pair well with Italian wines, such as barbera. Seafood dishes often party well with wines from regions by the ocean, such as Muscadet and Picpoul.
Try: Vietti Barbera ($20), Felines Jourdan Picpoul ($12), Cognettes Muscadet ($14)
Fat with Acid: You figured out this concept as a child with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Meaty and fatty dishes pair well with a wine that has some acid or tannin. There is a reason big steak houses have pages and pages of cabernet sauvignon options, as the tannin and acid complement the fat in the meat.
Try: Bonanza Cabernet Savignon ($23), Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Savignon ($23), Klinker Brick Zinfandel ($19), Shannon Ridge Cabernet Savignon ($14)
Fried and Bubbles: Elaborating on the concept above, there is a reason a particular fast-food restaurant calibrates its soda fountains to infuse the maximum number of bubbles into drinks. Those zippy little bubbles help to cut through all the fried goodness. Sparkling wine with french fries, fried chicken, potato chips or deep-fried Asian dishes are a match made in culinary heaven.
Try: 49M Crémant de Loire Brut ($16), Chandon Brut Rosé ($24), Piazza Grande Rosato Brut ($13), Fritz Müller Trocken ($19)
Sweet and Heat: Sometimes opposites do attract. Even if you are not usually a sweet wine fan, a spicy dish with a slightly sweet wine harmonizes perfectly. Pair spicy Thai food or curry with a slightly sweet white blend or off-dry sparkling.
Try: Schramsberg Crémant Demi-Sec ($42), Hugel Gentil Alsace White Blend ($15), Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Blend ($14)
Wines recommended are available at Edina Liquor, France 44 and Perrier Wines & Liquors in Bloomington. Prices are approximate, and availability can vary.
Contributed by Alison Perrier Briggs, a level two sommelier
and Edina resident. She grew up in the wine industry,
has worked vintages on three continents and has hosted
over 200 wine classes and events.