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Food and Wine Pairings Updated

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Grilled Steak with Peppercorns

Grilled Steak with Peppercorns

A New Look at Food and Wine Pairings


Have food and wine pairings changed?  In the last of our 3-part series on 5 New Food and Wine Pairing, we discuss food complements. Part 1, New Food and Wine Pairing Tips and part 2 Re-examining Food and Wine Pairings,  In part 5, we’ll take a look at food and wine complements.


5. Foods must Always Complement Each Other – Well, Yes and No on this One.

  • Generally, you should choose foods and wines that contrast one another.  But that’s not always the case. I call this my Beyoncé rule. Just like an oak-aged Chardonnay may not immediately seem like the perfect partner for a creamy, sautéed dish and Jay-Z, a rather plain-looking chap may not seem like the ideal partner for gorgeous Beyoncé.  On first glance, the oak-heavy wine may seem too overpowering for this dish, like Beyoncé may seem like too much woman for Jay-Z.  However, add a drizzle of lemon juice to the food after cooking and the citrus in the lemon cuts through some of the oak, allowing more vanilla to shine through.  This makes for a lovely contrast.
  • So you must decide which will shine at your table – the wine or the dish.   You need to know which will be the eye candy at your table.  Obviously we all know who the pretty one is in the Beyoncé/Jay-Z marriage.  There’s more to that marriage than any of us will ever know. Just like there’s more to pairing unlikely dishes with wine.

    Salmon Steak

    Salmon Steak

  • Another example, you may think that a white wine could be the perfect complement to tuna.  But a nice cut of tuna has a similar texture as salmon, which pairs nicely with Pinot Noir.  So just as Beyoncé and Jay-Z must also complement each other (in ways we can only imagine), these two oddly paired dinner companions can work nicely together.
  • But then, some complements were meant to be together. For example, a juicy grilled steak still pairs nicely with an old-vine Zinfandel.  Think Paul Newman and Joan Woodward.
Sommelier Pouring Wine

Ask Your Sommelier


The wines and foods we all consume these days present wonderful opportunities to try out new pairings.  So don’t be afraid to ask your sommelier for a wine pairing a little off the classic pairing trail.  It just might be the highlight of the evening.



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