Finding your best pair

Nicholas Ducote

With so many options as far as wining and dining goes, people sometimes get confused and flustered when trying to order proper pairing options for the ultimate dining experience. Thankfully, Dan Davis, sommelier at Commander’s Palace, provides some advice to make the process a little bit easier.

If you’re looking for the right drinks for the food that you’re preparing, look no further than the food that you’re cooking. The region of food is mostly key to the wine that you’re drinking, according to Davis.

German wines like a Riesling can also go great with a main dish such as steak or ribs. Spanish wines such as Albarino go well with fish and lighter dishes. Not only does it gives your tongue a nice balance of flavor, it’s also nice to your wallet. For those who are looking for the best wine to go with their Louisiana favorites, Davis said white wine would be your best choice.

“Kabinett Riesling goes well with anything from Louisiana. Spicy food with this particular wine will blow your mind with its sweetness,” Davis said.

According to Davis, tannins and acidity are what make and break a red wine.

“Tannins come from the skins and stems of grapes and makes cabernets and merlots be able to age for decades,” Davis said. “Acidity though is what allows food to actually go with wine. It brings out the flavor in your food and makes you notice subtlety in a dish.”

However, Davis said that low acidic wines aren’t all bad. Most of them are good for cooking or enjoying as a cocktail, but the common core of good wines is acidity.

“If a wine lacks acidity, it tastes a little flat and watery. This will only damper the experience when trying to enjoy your food,” Davis said.

Davis also said if you have one choice of wine for your whole three course meal, you’re doing it wrong. The wine you use with your salad should not be the same wine you use with your main course. And for dessert, the wine needs to be sweeter than the treat.

“Make sure you’re selecting a wine that overpowers the sweetness of the dish. Pineau de Charente is a wine with sweet apple hints that go well with any dessert. I highly suggest it, since red wines are the norm for this, but red wines don’t help flavor at all,” Davis said.

For those who prefer beer to wine, Davis said that you have to go for the same elements with beer as you would with wine. The alcohol levels and the amount of hops are the key for beers. Weight on the palate is another factor with beer and food. The heavier the beer, the heavier the food. For example, beers like Porters go great with steak and meaty dishes.

Regardless of what drink you prefer, the best thing you can do when pairing foods with alcohol is to make sure you choose food and drinks that complement each other.