We’ve all been there: loitering silently in the wine aisle of your local market, desperately trying to make eye contact with the shopkeep for any morsel of advice. That ends today! Pairing wine with cooked protein shouldn’t be too hard. And let’s be honest, we love experimenting with different pairings and varietals. It’s a tough job, but someone needs to do it!
Grass Fed Ground Beef Beef Burger Patties
Call in the bright and fruity wines! We need some pep in our step – choose something along the lines of a Syrah or Zinfandel (and no, that’s not a white zinfandel. Never choose white zin!). We want something rich, medium-bodied and smooth. Zesty but not too overpowering, these two varietals are easily drinkable and make an excellent choice for a backyard cookout.
Grilled Wild Caught Fish
If there’s one myth some people just can’t let go, it’s the white wine = fish and red wine = meat. We agree that yes, that’s a good set of of rules to adhere to, but we like to think of them more as a suggestion. Pairing a strong, crisp Sauvignon Blanc with your choice of white fish is always a good idea, but for sturdier fish like salmon, thinking outside of the box is key. We’ve been known to throw a light Pinot Noir into the mix.
Grilled Pasture Raised Chicken
Now, in case you run out of entertainment, this can be a point of debate amongst your guests. Grill them (ha! Get it! GRILL THEM!) on their favorite wine and chicken pairings and enjoy the raucous debate that will surely ensue. Oakey chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and light, springy reds all pair equally well with chicken. You may want to choose your wine based on your chicken marinade. This list can help:
- Acidity in wine pairs well with fatty and sweet foods.
- Fatty foods need either an acidic or high alcohol wine, otherwise the wine will taste flabby.
- Bitter (aka Tannic) wine can be balanced with a sweet food.
- Salty shouldn’t compete with acidity in wine. Use sparingly as necessary to keep sharpness in the meal.
- Sweet food/wine benefits from a little acidity.
- Alcohol can be used to cut through fatty foods or balance a sweet dish.
Grilled Grass Fed Meats
We advise adhering to the fat content of the meat – fattier cuts are delicious when paired with a tannic, strong red. According to Wine Folly, “the tannin is an astringent which works as a palate cleanser to ’scrape’ the fattiness from the inside of our mouth.” Ribeyes, tenderloin and flank steaks fall under this category. When dining on leaner cuts, opt for a lighter red wine such as a Sangiovese. And if all else fails, remember: champagne goes with everything!