Wine has that wonderful gift of bringing people together. So here, we will combine gorgeous wines with their most friendly appetizers to make your tastebuds dance with delight.
Pairing Appetizers with lovely wines is a sure-fire way to thrill your wine-tasting party guests, but before diving into the individual pairings, let's briefly cover some basic rules.
Photo by Helena Lopes: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-wine-glass-near-clear-shot-glasses-696215/
The Acidity of the food must be matched by the Acidity of the wine. For example, dishes with tomato sauce, vinegar, or capers will need a wine with superior acidity to match the dish's acidity.
Salt has the effect of reducing the acidity or astringency of wine. So if you feel that your pairing is not quite what it should be, perhaps a big red with strong tannins, adding a little salt to the food will soften the wine and balance the pairing.
Wines rich in fruit flavors are the ideal partners for sweet foods, so try to match the sweetness of the food with the wine.
Foods that pack an intense flavor need to be matched by wines that are bold and full. Similarly, delicate foods are best treated to light and delicate wines.
So, treat the above as your guide, and let's get to those delicious appetizers and their wine partners.
I always like to have a fresh Riesling available for guests who are more comfortable with a wine on the sweeter side. A Riesling also allows for the introduction of a spicy Thai-type appetizer, and for this, my all-time favorite is a Spring Roll.
A spicy stir fry vegetable filling can accommodate vegetarian guests, while the combination of prawns or chicken opens up a wide variety of options that are great partners to a fruity Riesling like the Schuster Riesling Diebstein. A worthy alternative would be the Pfaffl Sonne Riesling 2019, or perhaps the Riesling Premium Tasting Case may offer an excellent variety for your party.
Sauvignon Blanc is undoubtedly the most accommodating of white wines. So to pair with this wine, I suggest a zucchini quiche. The quiche can be made beforehand and only needs to be warmed up before your guests arrive. It's a great dish to have in reserve if your guests are super hungry, and you have a variety of excellent sauvignon blanc wines to choose from to pair with the quiche.
The range of Sauvignon Blanc wines is extensive, but why not try the Chateau Purcari Sauvignon Blanc de Purcari 2020 or the Italian Livon Sauvignon Blanc 2020. Both wines offer exceptional value and will perfectly pair with your quiche.
Moving on to creamier dishes brings the Chardonnay range of wines to the stage. This is a duet as it is essential to distinguish between oaked and unoaked Chardonnay. The oaked Chardonnay will seek out creamier dishes.
Photo by Pablo Macedo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/pizza-on-stainless-steel-tray-845797/
I'm always mindful that wine pairing parties typically have guests holding their glass in one hand, so appetizers have to be a one-handed affair, and what could be better than a slice of pizza?
My favorite is a baked brie and apple pizza. The creaminess of the brie and the baked pizza base blend so well with the subtle oaked Chardonnay. Try the Matetic EQ Chardonnay 2017 from southern Chile. A delicious example of hand-picked grapes lovingly housed in French Oak to produce a genuinely superb Chardonnay.
Pinot Noir is my first preference for sliding gently into the red wine range because the wine's gentle fruitiness blends so well with the nuttiness of a medium-body Gruyere. A baked Gruyere pastry with a hint of Rosemary and garlic is a perfect partner for a Pinot Noir like the Duckhorn Pinot Noir Goldeneye 2017. An outstanding example of the tremendous Californian winemaker's skill.
To end the evening, how about a Spicy Shiraz with some sumptuous dark chocolate. Shiraz, rich in fruit and berry tastes, compliments the darker, not too sweet chocolate. The Longview Yakka Shiraz is the perfect example of the Australian type Shiraz brimful of dark fruits. A perfect match for dark cocoa-rich chocolate.
I find it difficult to truly appreciate more than three or four wines in an evening. The different wines' individual characteristics blur, and the wine's true appreciation is lost. So my suggestion is to limit your selection to a few wines that are genuinely outstanding examples of the cultivar.