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Six Food and Wine Pairing Mistakes to Avoid

Experts offer advice on how to think beyond Google when trying to match palates.

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Bad food-and-wine pairings remain a challenge for even the most dedicated foodie or wine aficionado. So Bloomberg tracked down a sextet of sommeliers to talk about the most common mistakes in pairing and what you can do to correct them. Take a look below.

1.) Seafood and Wine – Aldo Sohm, sommelier at Le Bernardin. You don’t always have to pair seafood with white wine. “You can often do a red,” he told Bloomberg. “It all depends on the sauce. Look at the menu first and read the description.”

2.) Sweets and Champagne – Evan Goldstein, master sommelier, author, and president of Full Circle Wine Solutions. Despite the tradition of brides and grooms toasting with champagne at their wedding receptions, Goldstein warns that the tartness of champagne doesn’t go well with sweets like wedding cake. His solution? A light sweet Italian moscato or prosecco is a better pairing with cake. And champagne can always be served as an aperitif.

3.) Rosés Aren’t Red – Ronan Sayburn, head of wine at London’s 67 Pall Mall. If you enjoy surf-and-turf, don’t think that rosé should be ordered as a go-between (i.e. a little red and white to tie the meal together). “They think it will match both, but it won’t go with either one,” Sayburn tells Bloomberg. Instead consult the by-the-glass portion of the menu—or simply ask.

4.) Wine and Cheese – Raj Vaidya, head sommelier, New York’s Daniel. If you’re a cheese aficionado, you might often shoot try to pair a red with an eclectic cheese platter. That’s often a mistake, says Daniel’s Vaidya. “Very few reds can balance out the tart acidity of most goat’s milk cheeses, especially those coated in ash or herbs,” he tells Bloomberg. “They’re better with champagne or chenin blanc.”

5.) Food and Wine Pairing Isn’t Easy – Pascaline Lepeltier, Rouge Tomate. Notes Bloomberg of the expert’s advice, “People wrongly focus on flavors and aromas when choosing a wine with their food.” That’s too simplistic. It’s much more about matching said wine with a food’s fat content, sweetness, acidity, or texture.

6.) Single Wine Dishes – Fiona Beckett of Matching Food and WineThere is no such thing as one a one-wine food. Says Bloomberg of Beckett’s expert advice, “how a dish is cooked, not the base ingredient, should the starting point when selecting a wine.” And that can open things up to multiple possibilities—not just what that single Google search told you.

Read full story at Bloomberg