In this article, we will provide you with our curated food pairings, red wine suggestions, and we’ve also incorporated non-alcoholic (n.a.) alternatives for your consideration.
While true wine—and alcohol-free wine—can taste good with any meal, there are some foods which really bring out the naturally occurring flavors and aromas in wine. When you pair the right food with the right wine, you end up with a delicious combination which compliments itself throughout the entire meal, leaving you completely satisfied.
Red wine, the epitome of sophistication in the world of beverages, boasts myriad flavors and complexities that deserve to be celebrated. A well-paired meal can elevate the experience of enjoying red wine to sublime heights. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the top 7 foods to pair with red wine while also exploring the intriguing realm of non-alcoholic red wines and the compelling reasons to consider them.
We’ve taken the extra step to introduce non-alcoholic red wines into the mix. We understand that not everyone may choose to consume alcohol, yet they still deserve the opportunity to savor the complex flavors and aromas that red wine pairings can offer. Non-alcoholic red wines provide a delightful alternative, ensuring that everyone can partake in the pleasure of wine pairing, regardless of their personal choices or circumstances.
1. Grilled Steak
A timeless classic, the union of red wine and a perfectly grilled steak is a testament to culinary delight. Red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, with their bold tannins, beautifully complement the savory, juicy flavors of steak. The wine’s acidity serves as a palate cleanser, cutting through the richness of the meat and unveiling hidden layers of taste and aroma.
We’ve got Cab alcohol-free options, but since we don’t have n.a. options for Malbec, we recommend Merlot. It often features flavors of ripe red and black fruits, with a soft and velvety texture. It’s a great choice if you enjoy the fruit-forward aspect of Malbec.
2. Pasta with Tomato-Based Sauces
Italian cuisine enthusiasts rejoice, for red wine and pasta with tomato-based sauces are a match made in gastronomic heaven. The natural acidity of tomatoes harmonizes gracefully with the wine’s acidity. For this pairing, opt for a Chianti or Sangiovese, which not only accentuate the tomato flavors but also maintain a harmonious equilibrium.
As for non-alcoholic options, we recommend a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Grenache. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo offers ripe fruit flavors, moderate tannins, and a medium body, making it somewhat reminiscent of Sangiovese. Grenache exhibit red berry fruitiness, soft tannins, and a medium body, making them a good choice for those who enjoy the fruit-forward nature of Sangiovese.
The enduring love affair between red wine and cheese knows no bounds. However, when choosing cheeses, it’s crucial to consider the wine’s characteristics. An aged cheddar finds its ideal partner in a full-bodied Bordeaux, while the creaminess of brie is enhanced by a Pinot Noir. The exploration of cheese and wine pairings is a delightful adventure, offering endless possibilities.
While we don’t have an alcohol-free Bordeaux wines, revered for their complexity, balance, and aging potential, we do have Cabs. Known for their dark fruit flavors, cassis, cedar, robust tannins, non-alcoholic Cabernet Sauvignons are an appropriate substitute.
4. Dark Chocolate
For dessert aficionados, the indulgence of red wine paired with dark chocolate is an exquisite sensory experience. The fruity undertones of red wine complement the rich, bittersweet notes of dark chocolate, resulting in a symphony of flavors. When selecting a wine, consider Zinfandel or Syrah to elevate the sweetness of the chocolate and create an enchanting finale to your meal.
A good alternative to an alcoholic Zinfandel would be a medium to full-bodied Tempranillo, the principal grape in Spanish Rioja wines. It features flavors of red berries, plum, and a touch of oak influence.
5. Roasted Lamb
Lamb, with its tender and flavorful meat, serves as a perfect canvas for red wine pairings. The earthy and herbaceous nuances in many red wines effortlessly complement the inherent flavors of lamb. Whether you choose a Merlot or a Shiraz, the marriage of these two elements transforms your roasted lamb dish into a culinary masterpiece.
Grenache wines, especially those from regions like Southern Rhône in France and Spain, offer bright red fruit flavors, a touch of spice, and a medium body. They can be an excellent alternative for those who enjoy Shiraz’s fruitiness.
6. Mushroom Risotto
Mushrooms and red wine share an inherent affinity for earthy flavors, making them an impeccable pairing. The earthiness of mushrooms complements the wine’s depth, resulting in a harmonious blend. A Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo adds a layer of sophistication to mushroom risotto, and the wine’s acidity brilliantly balances the creamy texture of the dish.
Non-alcoholic wines have come a long way but unfortunately we don’t have a n.a. Nebbiolo yet. We suggest Montepulciano d’Abruzzo particularly in terms of structure and acidity.
7. Charcuterie Board
Crafting an exquisite charcuterie board featuring an array of cured meats, olives, and nuts is a delightful endeavor when paired with red wine. The diversity of flavors and textures on the board creates an exciting tasting experience. A versatile red wine, such as Grenache or Tempranillo, harmonizes with the various components of your charcuterie spread, ensuring a memorable dining adventure.
Pairing red wine with the right foods is akin to unlocking a treasure trove of flavors and sensations. Whether you choose to embrace classic pairings or explore the world of non-alcoholic red wines, there are myriad options to suit every palate and occasion. So, as you open up a bottle of red wine in the future, consider these pairings, and embark on a gastronomic journey that transcends ordinary dining.
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