Easy rules to achieve the perfect food and wine pairing !

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So the big evening is approaching rapidly, you have planned all the aspect of your dinner party.  You will be waking up early Saturday morning to cook, or even better you have reserved your Private Chef with MiumMium. Now there is only one thing left to decide, what will you drink?

How many bottles of wine should I buy ?

Before deciding what to buy, the first question that comes to mind is: How many bottles should I buy ? Vinepair.com recommends buying one bottle per person + one extra of your favorite. The quantity will vary depending on the size of your group and if you intend to serve a cocktail or not. They created a fun dinner party wine-calculator online to help you with the quantities. Please note that it would be wise to plan for your guests to sleep over or for return transportation such as Uber if you decide to go. 

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How many different wines should I serve?

We recommend serving a different wine for each course. Some bubbly or a flavourful craft beer pair well with your most Hors d'oeuvres and then proceeding on to different wine pairings for the actual courses. Now the time has come to pick the wine you are going to serve. Don't panic, remain calm; remember that wine is only a tasty fermented grape juice sometimes wrapped in snobbism and bulls... Serve yourself a glass of buttery Chardonnay and follow these simple rules to successfully achieve the perfect food and wine pairing. 

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It’s about the sauce and flavour, not the Meat.

Of course you’ve heard that Cabernet Sauvignon pairs great with steak and that when you’re eating fish you should steer towards a Sauvignon Blanc, however, sometimes, you’re selling yourself short. First you want to identify the flavour profile of your meal. Is your dish sweet and fatty, acidic or does there seem to be a lot of bitterness in the sauce you're using? All of these components affect the taste of the wine you’re pairing your meal with. Then you want to pair your dish with either congruent or contrasting wines. For example, a congruent food pair would be pairing a green salad (acidic, bitter) with a Sauvignon Blanc (acidic and light bodied) or a creamy Fettuccine Alfredo with a Chardonnay (a white wine that tends to be on the creamiest side).

Contrasting flavour profiles works well to compliment different flavors in a meal as well. For example, pairing a bold bitter red wine with the same creamy Fettuccine Alfredo would balance the salt and fat flavours of the meal out, giving you a well-balanced flavour profile.

you want to pair your dish with either congruent or contrasting wines.

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If you’re lost - match Terroirs

If it grows together, it goes together. A big American burger always pairs well with a big American wine. A light Mediterranean meal will always go well with a Greek white and so on. Spanish wines such as a rich Tempranillo pairs well with Regional Spanish cuisine, such as roasted vegetables and cured meats or most famously the delicious Jamón Iberico. Identify the nationality most represented in your meal and go from there. It makes sense, through history, the taste of wine adapted to the food of the region, therefore they usually blend together harmoniously.

If it grows together, it goes together.

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If you still have no idea what to serve, bet on Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir is famously known for being food-friendly and will pair well with a variety of different meals. It’s a red wine so it does have some bolder flavours and bitterness. However it is by far one of the lighter red grape varieties. The light taste and color of most Pinot Noir come from the size of the grape. Pinot Noir grapes are bigger and present a thinner skin than most other “cépage”. Therefore the maceration of the skin in the juice doesn’t produce as much color as for smaller grapes. Pinot Noir is often described as having a red wine palate with a white wine style making it popular for even the pickiest wine drinker at your table. Is not surprising that Pinot Noir is often used in the production of Champagne. (Did you know that about 85 to 90 percent of Champagnes are a blend of about 2/3 red grapes and 1/3 Chardonnay. A few Champagnes (less than 5 percent) are 100 percent Chardonnay (Those Champagnes are called Blanc De Blancs); fewer yet are 100 percent red grapes (called Blanc De Noirs).

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Make sure your wine is sweeter than your Dessert.

When it comes to pairing a dessert wine with an after-dinner snack it’s always important to make sure your wine is sweeter than the dessert. Desserts that pair well with sweet wines are typically fruit tarts or something subtle like a creamy panna cotta. As a rule of thumb avoid pairing chocolate desserts  with sweet dessert wines- they tend to be the sweetest. Instead go with quality dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher accompanied with a Cabernet Sauvignon. A treat for the palate and for your heart. For a wedding cake with vanilla frosting, we would recommend a lightly sweet Riesling because they'll bring out the vanilla flavors.

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go with quality dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher accompanied with a Cabernet Sauvignon. A treat for the palate and for your heart.

Everyone knows to pair cheese with heavy red wine...right?

The thought of drinking a glass of milk and a glass of wine simultaneously is enough to make us gag… however there is still nothing better than a good cheese to appreciate the flavor of a wine. However, cheese varies greatly in flavor from one to the other; cheddar, Camembert, Burrata, Blue, there are thousands of cheeses to choose from and picking the perfect wine could be challenging. Forget the preconceived notion of Red wine and cheese - there is much more to discover. Our favorite wine site, Winefolly.com, teaches us these 6 tips when it comes to pairing cheese with the perfect wine:

Tip #1: Pair wines and cheeses with equal intensity.

This tip is the most important takeaway for creating your own pairings. The delicate flavors of Gruyère would be overwhelmed by a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon, but are perfectly balanced when paired alongside a Pinot Noir.

As a general rule:

  • Wines over 14.5% ABV are more intense and taste better with more intensely flavored cheeses.

  • Wines under 12% ABV are less intense and match nicely with more delicately flavored cheeses.

Tip #2: Bold red wines pair best with aged cheeses.

As cheese ages and loses water content, it becomes richer in flavor with its increased fat content. These two attributes are ideal for matching bold red wines because the fat content in the cheese counteracts the high tannins in the wine. For the best results, select cheeses that have been aged at least a year, including Cheddar, Gruyère, Manchego, Gouda, Provolone, or Parmesan-style varieties like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano.

Tip #3: Match super funky cheeses with sweeter Wines

Sweeter wines like Moscato, Gewürztraminer, Late Harvest dessert wines, and Port match wonderfully with stinky, washed-rind, and blue-veined cheeses. Why? The sweetness in the wine helps balance the “funk” in the cheese and makes it taste creamier. Also, the “stink” of the cheese will help balance the sweet taste of the wine.

Two classic pairings you must try if you like funky cheeses are Port with Stilton and Sauternes with Roquefort. Delicious!

Tip #4: Sparkling wines are incredible with soft, creamy cheeses.

Sparkling wines have high acidity and carbonation, which offer a palate-cleansing effect too creamy, sticky cheeses such as Brie, Muenster, Camembert, Cremont, or Époisses de Bourgogne.

Tip #5: Wines and cheeses from the same place pair well together.

More often than not, you’ll do well to trust the local traditions and match wines and cheeses from the same region together. A few great examples of this include Sauvignon Blanc with Goat Cheese (Loire Valley, France), Chardonnay with Époisses de Bourgogne (Burgundy, France), and Garnacha with Manchego (Spain).

Tip #6: When in doubt, get a firm, nutty cheese.

If there are several wines being served and you’re not sure which cheese to pair, one of the safest bets and most popular choices with all styles of wines is a firm, nutty cheese. The cheese will have enough fat to counterbalance tannin in red wine, but enough delicacy to compliment delicate whites. A few examples include Swiss, Gruyère, Abbaye de Belloc, Comté Extra, Emmental, and Gouda.

Everyone knows to pair cheese with heavy red wine...right?

The thought of drinking a glass of milk and a glass of wine simultaneously is enough to make us gag… however there is still nothing better than a good cheese to appreciate the flavor of a wine. However, cheese varies greatly in flavor from one to the other; cheddar, Camembert, Burrata, Blue, there are thousands of cheeses to choose from and picking the perfect wine could be challenging. Forget the preconceived notion of Red wine and cheese - there is much more to discover. Our favorite wine site, Winefolly.com, teaches us these 6 tips when it comes to pairing cheese with the perfect wine:

Tip #1: Pair wines and cheeses with equal intensity.

This tip is the most important takeaway for creating your own pairings. The delicate flavors of Gruyère would be overwhelmed by a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon, but are perfectly balanced when paired alongside a Pinot Noir.

As a general rule:

  • Wines over 14.5% ABV are more intense and taste better with more intensely flavored cheeses.

  • Wines under 12% ABV are less intense and match nicely with more delicately flavored cheeses.

Tip #2: Bold red wines pair best with aged cheeses.

As cheese ages and loses water content, it becomes richer in flavor with its increased fat content. These two attributes are ideal for matching bold red wines because the fat content in the cheese counteracts the high tannins in the wine. For the best results, select cheeses that have been aged at least a year, including Cheddar, Gruyère, Manchego, Gouda, Provolone, or Parmesan-style varieties like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano.

Tip #3: Match super funky cheeses with sweeter Wines

Sweeter wines like Moscato, Gewürztraminer, Late Harvest dessert wines, and Port match wonderfully with stinky, washed-rind, and blue-veined cheeses. Why? The sweetness in the wine helps balance the “funk” in the cheese and makes it taste creamier. Also, the “stink” of the cheese will help balance the sweet taste of the wine.

Two classic pairings you must try if you like funky cheeses are Port with Stilton and Sauternes with Roquefort. Delicious!

Tip #4: Sparkling wines are incredible with soft, creamy cheeses.

Sparkling wines have high acidity and carbonation, which offer a palate-cleansing effect too creamy, sticky cheeses such as Brie, Muenster, Camembert, Cremont, or Époisses de Bourgogne.

Tip #5: Wines and cheeses from the same place pair well together.

More often than not, you’ll do well to trust the local traditions and match wines and cheeses from the same region together. A few great examples of this include Sauvignon Blanc with Goat Cheese (Loire Valley, France), Chardonnay with Époisses de Bourgogne (Burgundy, France), and Garnacha with Manchego (Spain).

Tip #6: When in doubt, get a firm, nutty cheese.

If there are several wines being served and you’re not sure which cheese to pair, one of the safest bets and most popular choices with all styles of wines is a firm, nutty cheese. The cheese will have enough fat to counterbalance tannin in red wine, but enough delicacy to compliment delicate whites. A few examples include Swiss, Gruyère, Abbaye de Belloc, Comté Extra, Emmental, and Gouda.

Source: WinefollyMiumMium diner party

Finally, observe your Guests

Without outright telling you, your guests will let you know if they enjoy the pairing you’ve created for dinner. If you observe your guest drinking their wine at the same pace as they eat their meal - you’ve done well. If they finish their meal and then proceed to drink and finish their wine, it may not have been the best pairing. This is because when the flavours from your wine and your food mend well together, you will naturally enjoy them simultaneously. By taking a look around the dinner table, you’ll have a clear answer as to how successful your pairing choices were.


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