A Wine affair… Pairing herbs with wine
Why is wine-herb pairing a good idea? It’s one more way you could enjoy your wine drinking experience. By pairing the right wine with the right dish, the flavors are balanced and you’d be able to discover the pleasure of the basic flavors in a meal, as well as the complex combinations that are created. The cornerstone of pairing wine with herbs actually comes down to the aromatic compounds found in both. In fact, it is better to pair the wine with the sauce than with the meat mainly because that is what is more likely to exude the dominant flavor.
When it comes to food, you’re mainly looking to complement the dish with a contrasting wine for balance, or enhancing the flavors of the dish by going for a wine that is a similar match. Imagine yourself having a nice warm plate of macaroni and cheese with a beautiful, creamy, béchamel sauce. On one hand, the acidity in a good Sauvignon Blanc would be a complementary match since it balances the fat in the dish. On the other hand, a creamy Viognier or Chardonnay would actually enhance the flavors in your plate. This is an example of how two different options of white wine can make for two very different food experiences. It really does come down to personal preference.
Taking this a step further first requires that you become familiar with the popular herbs and ingredients used in different cuisines. The Mediterranean cuisine, for example, is famous for using garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, and mint among other herbs. Garlic pairs well with fruity, and dry wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, or Pinot Noir, and Syrah, if you’re looking to have red wine. Syrah actually pairs well with most of the mentioned herbs, especially with basil and rosemary. Thyme and oregano are earthy herbs and would also pair well with Pinot Noir.
Tasting does take a little practice, but will eventually make for an enjoyable experience. The next time you sit down for a meal, try to isolate the predominant herbs in the dish, and experiment with wine flavors. There really is nothing like the perfect match.