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When hosting a dinner party for friends at home, it can be challenging to know what types of food and wine pairings work best with different dishes. This article will break down the most common types of wines and foods that people eat at small dinners and give good pairing options.
1. Pairing Wine With Seafood Dishes
When serving seafood at a dinner party, some popular wine pairings are good options for most dishes. Fish is mild enough in flavor on its own that you can usually get away with pairing it with either white or red wines such as San Simeon Wines. If the meal includes fish and shellfish (like shrimp), try choosing between a Pinot Noir or Riesling. These lighter-bodied wines will stand up to the more robust flavors of shrimp while still complementing the subtlety of fish.
2. Pairing Wine With Vegetarian Food
When serving meatless dishes, it can be hard to find wines that match well with the strong flavors of most vegetables and cheese. For this reason, many people opt to serve white wine as their main pairing option when they have vegetarian or vegan friends coming over for dinner. This way, even if something is served alongside the meal with meat (like sausage), there will still be enough flavor on the plate to make both components shine through and provide perfect balance throughout the meal. White wine goes great with lighter flavors of vegetables, so you might want to consider pairing it with dishes that have lemon or butter in them.
3. Pairing Wine With Meat Dishes
Most meat dishes go well with both red and white wines, so you’ll want to choose which type of wine you serve with them based on the flavors that they have. Heartier meat dishes like steak and lamb go well with full-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel. These wines will match the rich, beefy flavors in most meats and help cut through fatty components of dishes like mashed potatoes or fried chicken. It would help if you also considered serving richer foods with Pinot Noir. It has enough fruitiness to complement heavier meals while retaining herbal notes to boost lighter elements on the plate.
4. Pairing Wine With Dessert Dishes
When it comes time for dessert, many people choose to serve sweet wines like Moscato and Riesling. While these wines go well with desserts, you can also pair them with richer courses such as cheese. These sweeter wines will usually match the richness of goat’s milk cheeses and chocolate dishes, so be sure to try serving different types of wine for dessert when your guests are over.
5. Pairing Wine With Appetizers
Many people like to serve wine with appetizers, but you can also pair wines with these courses differently. If your dinner party includes several small appetizer courses, the best way to pair them is by choosing wines that are lighter in body and less intense than if you were serving main courses. To do this, opt for white wines such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. These wines will work well with most light flavors in appetizers like salads and seafood dishes without overpowering them or their subtle flavors.
6. Pairing Wine With Cheese Dishes
When you’re serving cheese at a dinner party, it’s helpful to pick out wines that will complement the flavors on the cheese plate. Just as with wine pairings for desserts, you can generally choose either light-bodied wines or full-bodied wines based on how rich your cheese is. For a lighter pairing option, try Sauvignon Blanc. Full-bodied reds like Chianti, Shiraz, and Zinfandel work well with bolder cheddar’s, goudas, and blues.
7. Pairing Wine With Roasted Dishes
Many dishes are served roasted at dinner parties to be cooked evenly throughout without burning or drying out. It would be best to keep this in mind when thinking of serving red wines with these types of foods because most full-bodied reds need to be cooked for some time before their flavors will mellow and can be eaten. For this reason, you should only serve roasted meats like beef and lamb with medium-bodied reds like Pinot Noir or Grenache. These lighter options are great for roasted dishes while still retaining the meaty flavors found in charred edges.
Above all, it’s important to remember that there are many different styles and brands of wines out there. The pairings we’ve suggested in this article should be considered general guidelines for you to build off when serving wines at your dinner party.