Tips for perfectly pairing your wine and food

If you like to have wine with your meal but you're not too sure what to get, we've got some great advice from one of the best local wine guys in the biz.

SEATTLE - If you like to have wine with your meal but you're not too sure what to get, we've got some great advice from one of the best local wine guys in the biz.

"It's one-hundred percent Merlot,” said Erik Liedholm.

As the Company Wine Director for John Howie Restaurants, Master Sommelier Erik Liedholm has paired and poured more than his share wine. So when we asked him for some tips on picking the right wine with food, he said don't get hung up on perfection.

"Jancis Robinson the great wine writer says well it's hard to get it completely wrong and rare to get it completely right when it comes to food and wine pairing so if you have that attitude you can never really fail,’ said Liedholm.

For those who love steak, like a New York, Erik says size does matter.

"Matching the size and weight of the wine with the richness and intensity of the food," said Liedholm. "For this pairing, we have a Merlot from Mark Ryan winery, John Howie cuvette, and it's just this wonderful alchemy of food and wine pairing the richness of that steak and the texture along with the tannins the fruit cause it's all about body balancing."

For seafood, how your dish is prepared can be as important as what you're eating.  Especially salmon.

"One needs to be mindful on how the fish was cooked. For instance, this is roasted so we paired it with this really great juicy flavorful, fruity wine that has a little oak underneath it,” said Liedholm. “But if this salmon was poached, it would require a totally different wine like a Chardonnay or something a little bit lighter."

“A lot of people immediately go with a Pinot Noir with salmon,” said Liedholm. “Chose a Grenache from Spain."

For more exotic dishes that bring the heat, there are choices that will both complement and cool.

"One of my friends came in with a bottle of this wine which is Bugey, from the South Eastern part of France,” said Liedholm. "Because of the production method, it has a lot of residual sugar. So it's a little sweet, a little sparkling.

"If you can't find this great wine a Brachetto from Northern Italy works really well and even a Moscato d’Asti from the Clemente in northern Italy as well,” said Liedholm. “They have principally the same style, lightly sparkling, lightly sweet, and works really well with spicy dishes."

And when it comes to dessert, there's a wine for that too.

"The rule of thumb is for pairing desert wine with desert is to make sure the dessert wine is as sweet or sweeter than the dessert it accompanies,” said Liedholm.

But if pairing wine and food gets too overwhelming, Erik says you can't go wrong picking what you already know.

"Ultimately it's drink the wine you love with the food you love and I'll add to it with the people you love,” said Liedholm.

Copyright 2016 KING


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