Cupcakes and Gewürztraminer: A match made in heaven? There's just something about putting together wines and food that can leave the most confident food-lover more than a bit puzzled.
Which is why we love this ridiculously simple new wine pairing chart that allows less-savvy drinkers to feel a little less ignorant about which foods and wines should theoretically hit it off. The connoisseurs at Wine Folly say they created the chart (also available as a neat poster) by using sommeliers' universal principle of opposing taste profiles (such as sweet and sour) to create the best pairings.
As Trend Hunter notes, the chart doesn't just give you generalities — it specifies particular food groups (like red meat and soft cheese), and then breaks it down even further into groupings of wine. Food news site Foodbeast, meanwhile, has hailed it as "the world’s most practical wine pairing chart ever."
And it couldn't come at a better time. It turns out Canadians are drinking more and more wine. One study found that consumers bought an average of 22 bottles in 2011, up from 13 in 1995.
But practice doesn't necessarily make perfect. Wine writer and HuffPost Canada blogger Natalie MacLean says people are more confused about wine pairings than ever because of modern fusion cuisines that mix several ingredients, and the greater selection of wines from different regions around the world.
Either way, it's a useful — and pretty — tool for anyone planning a dinner party in the near future. Or heck, just a fun night in.
Also on HuffPost:
This riesling offers a hint of sweetness, lively acidity and peach, apple, pear and citrus flavours that are natural partners to most appetizers and lighter meat dishes like turkey or ham. The fruity nature of this wine will temper the heat in spicier dishes but feel right at home with the whole range of traditional Thanksgiving fare. <em>Product Info: $13.95, 750 mL bottle</em>
A chardonnay offering a creamy-textured palate, balanced acidity and notes of citrus and ripe apple fruit that will easily deal with the deep flavours and textures of most dishes. The pleasant layer of oak also matches nicely to any smoky flavours originating from roasting or grilling and will stand up to any sauce or gravy. <em>Product Info: $17.95, 750 mL bottle</em>
Made from 100 per cent chardonnay in the Traditional Method, the toasty notes from sur lie bottle aging are magnificent with the roasted flavours of turkey and the smoky flavours of ham. Citrus, apple and peach flavours will complement all the fixings, while the sparkle refreshes the palate with each bite. <em>Product Info: $18.95, 750 mL bottle</em>
This local favourite offers a luscious palate, with lingering flavours of mango, pear, caramel apples and spice. The best of both worlds, it is balanced enough to drink on its own, yet offers enough intensity and rich, sweet flavours to match any dessert. <em>Product Info: $24.95, 375 mL bottle</em>
The beautiful pink colour and dancing bubbles of this Traditional Method sparkling rosé will add a buzz to the holiday festivities. Crisp and elegant, this versatile partner will greet you at the door, stay with you for appetizers, and enhance the dinner whether its roasted turkey or scalloped potatoes. <em>Product Info: $29.95, 750 mL bottle</em>
The bright pink hue and flavours of cherry and red berries in this lively rosé complements turkey the same way that cranberries are a classic match; the herbal notes in the wine pair wonderfully with traditional sage stuffing. <em>Product Info: $11.95, 750 mL bottle</em>
Flavours of blackberry, black cherry, cocoa and spice are the perfect complement for a prime rib roast. Salt in the meat’s seasonings and pan gravy will accentuate the fruit in the wine and act to soften its moderately firm texture. <em>Product Info: $16.95, 750 mL bottle</em>
Pinot noir’s cranberry, cherry, earth and spicy notes enhance lighter meats like pork, or roasted turkey without overpowering. Cave Spring pinot is dry, with a structure and elegance that reflects Ontario terroir. <em>Product Info: $17.95, 750 mL bottle</em>
The black cherry and earthy notes of this gamay meld wonderfully with duck, and mirror the tangy, fruity flavours of the accompanying cherry chutney. Always a classic for traditional Thanksgiving dinner, this is one of the best examples of Ontario gamay which shows poise and depth. <em>Product Info: $17.95, 750 mL bottle</em>
The wild, dark berry fruit flavours of baco noir are underscored with herbal, smoky and earthy notes. Baco has the intensity to stand up to the characteristic gaminess of lamb or dark turkey meat and has a good seam of acidity which cleanses the palate. <em>Product Info: $14.95, 750 mL bottle</em>