The food and wine pairings that often appear at the bottom of a restaurant menu might seem like a difficult thing to dream up, but the reality of an elegant and unforgettable dinner party does not have to be hard to execute. If you’re organizing a dinner soon and are considering food and wine pairings that will be sure to impress, here are a few guidelines that will make for a successful evening replete with a meal your guests won’t soon forget.
Start Out with Sparkling
There are few more impressive ways to begin an evening than with a good glass of sparkling, so if you’re offering up olives and an antipasti tray, reach for a Prosecco or Spumante that will pair great with this first course. It’s a great way to get conversation flowing and will quickly engage your guests in the excitement of the evening.
Following with White Fish or Seafood?
There’s a standard rule that white wine is the best option if you’re serving a main dish like fish, seafood or anything that includes a cream sauce. While the crisp finish of a white will pair ideally with almost any food in these categories, a chardonnay or pinot bianco will provide further compliment.
If You’re Indulging in Red Sauce
If fish and cream sauce are not on the menu and you’re planning for traditional tomato sauce, it would be wise to reach for a bottle of light or medium-bodied red. While this type of wine will do well with tomato sauce, if you’re also serving veal or chicken, a merlot or chianti will be among the most perfect of pairings.
Go Bold with Game or Roast
The choice of a meaty main dish that is carried off without a hitch will likely impress your guests on its own, but a wine pairing that goes well will be sure to make it truly sing. You’ll want to stick with red for an entrée of roast or game, but make sure it’s something full-bodied like a rich cabernet sauvignon.
Aged Cheese and Amarone
If you plan to finish off the meal before the final course with a selection of cheeses, stick with a full-bodied red of the Amarone or Montepulciano varietal. It might seem like these would overpower each other, but the boldness of wine and cheese actually works in the favor of the other.
The Final Course
It’s in keeping with the tradition of dessert to offer coffee, but you may want to consider one last wine pairing to finish off the evening. Instead of something heavy, go back to the beginning with a sparkling wine like Asti Spumante or something sweet like Vin Santo.
There are many easy rules to follow that will make for an impressive dinner party wine pairing, but if there’s a bottle you’ve been waiting to try this can be a good guideline for taking a risk! Whatever the occasion, a wine pairing is an easy way to kick up your party a notch and impress upon your guests your menu-making savvy.