Wine Etiquette And Food Pairing Throughout Europe

Omeron Travel
on 27th July, 2020
5 minutes read

Finding the right wine and food pairing has always been a bit debatable. You can pretty much have whatever pairing you want because it is ultimately up to you to decide. But there are certain flavours that just do not go well, and there are also some defined pairings that truly compliment both the wine and the food.

Now since we are talking about food and wine pairing throughout Europe, we simply cannot leave aside the art of wine etiquette. A distinct part of the European culture resonates in wine etiquette. Especially in countries like France and Italy, these simple etiquettes can really bring out the best of you in any social gatherings or events.

Well, it’s definitely one of those things that on the surface seem unnecessary, but we assure you it’s a powerful tool. So let’s go through some of these wine etiquettes.

Common Wine Etiquettes

1. Clink Form Bowl To Bowl

Whenever you want to clink glasses with someone, remember to clink your wine glasses from bowl to bowl and look at your clinking buddy in the eye as you do it. This is because the bowl is likely the strongest part of the glass. Clinking with the edge may end with the glass getting chipped or worse.

2. Hold The Glass By The Stem

Try to always hold your wine glass by the stem and not by the bowl. If you hold it by the bowl, it can leave fingerprints on the glass and can even make the glass look dirtier.  And when you are holding the glass by the stem, you can keep your wine cooler for a longer time and swirl your wine for a better taste.

3. Always Offer Others First

Here is that one thing that will make you look like an amazing host. A simple act of kindness will make you feel better, and your guests will feel more appreciated as well. All you have to do is to remember to always offer wine to your guests first. 

4. Equal Portions For Everyone

You have to keep this in mind, especially if you are the host. Always keep your potion of wine pour equivalent to others.

5. Drink From The Same Spot

Sipping wine from the same spot is a great way to keep your glass cleaner and is also a great tip for those of you who wear lipsticks. 

6. Bring A Bottle 

If you are invited to some place then it’s always best to bring a fine bottle of European wine instead of other gifts. It will be appreciated more. Try to get something that costs higher than 5 euros. You would not want to bring cheap supermarket wines to your host.  And if you are confused about what to get, a chilled bottle of Champaign always works!

Effective Wine & Food Pairing Across Europe

Now that we have sorted the most common and practised wine etiquettes throughout Europe, let’s get back to the more delicious part. Now sometimes, it can be a bit challenging to pair wine with the right food and vice versa. And we definitely understand that. So here are some pointers for you.

You would want to match your food with the wine so they accent each other, but on the other hand, food can sometimes get in the way of your enjoyment of wine. To make things easier, we are first going to talk a little brief about the two broad European wine variants that are the white wine and red wine and see how they pair up with food. 

What Pairs With White Wine?

If you have white wine and you are going to have it for the remainder of your meal or at least the majority of it, then you must pick light dishes. For instance, it can be pork with less spicy sauce, a nice salad, chicken, and pasta.

Things like that can go pretty easily with white wines. Another thing that you would want for your white wine category is to have something that is a little creamy to balance out the spiciness. In this case, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc can go really well when you want to cut through the spice with your wine. White wines pretty much pair with all of the courses that lead up to your main dish.

What Pairs With Red Wine?

In case of red European wine, most people are likely going to drink it throughout their entire meals. Salads go well with red wines but to really mix and match the flavours you need to pick something that is a bit more marbled and has fat contents. This is why heavy steaks like wagyu or the T-bone go perfectly well with red wines like Cabernet blends and  Merlots. Let’s continue with the delicacies and head on to more specific wine & food pairings.

Pinot Noir With A Dash Of Earthly flavours

If your food contains earthly flavours of mushrooms or truffles then it is going to go great with light-bodied red wines like Pinot Noir or Dolcettos. This will bring a much more savoury depth to your food.

Chardonnay With Fish And Pinot Grigio For Light Seafood

With creamy whites like chardonnays, it is best to pair with seafood. Fishes like the salmon with a rich sauce mix well. As for light seafood like the tostada bites, try it out with white wines like Pinot Grigio, Chablis, or even Arneis; a popular wine in Italy.

Champaign For Salty and Savory Dishes

Brut campaigns, Spanish Cava, and other dry sparkling wines have a very distinct but faint touch of sweetness. This mixes well with a salty dish. Opposite flavours like these can give your meal a whole new depth. It can be used with dishes like udon noodles.

Cabernet With Juicy Steaks

We already talked about how both these bold flavours can and will complement each other. Cabernet blends and Bordeaux-style blends make eating juicy steaks and lamb chops much more refreshing thanks to their firm tannins.

Sauvignon Blanc To Melow The Tanginess

Tangy foods have a rich and sharp acidic flavour stored. The tanginess of tats and scallops can be mellowed down a little with wines Sauvignon blanc, Verdejo, or Vinho Verde.

Dry Rose For All The Cheesy Delights

Some cheese pair extremely well with red wines and some go well with white wines. But almost all variants of cheese can be paired with Dry Rose. If you are willing to have a triple-decker cheese sandwich then try with the dry rose that has the right amount of fruitiness of red wines and the perfect amount of acidity of the white wines.

Blood Malbec for Bold and Spicy Barbeque Sauce

If you’re planning on having some chicken drumsticks brushed with bold barbeque sauces then you would want something equally bold to combine those flavours. In this case, drinks like Malbec and Côtes-du-Rhône should be your optimum choices.

Syrah For The Mouth-Watering Spiciness

If you are having heavily seasoned meats like spiced burgers with spicy mayo and sauce then complement it with Syrah from the U.S or Xinomavro from lovely Greece.

Grüner Veltliner With Fresh Herb Dishes 

The special Grüner Veltliner from Austria has a unique citrus and clover cent that bodes well with dishes that have a lot of fresh herbs. Another great choice would be the classic European wine Albariño.

Zinfandels Rustic Essence For Mousses

Combine two rich flavours in this amazing wine & food combination. Mix zinfandel with Spain’s famous chicken-liver mousse and enjoy the rich creamy flavour.

Sweet Moscato d’Asti For The Desserts

We have talked a lot about spicy and salty meals but what about the desserts? Well, for the delicious and sweet desserts you can pair up with sweet sparkling wines such as the Moscato d’Asti and the Asti Spumante.

Wrapping Up

The above-mentioned ones are the tried, tested, and beloved combination of wine & food throughout Europe. But in no way is it limited to only these variants. And that is exactly why the saying “What grows together, goes together” still prevails.  There are infinite combinations and European wines are always the best ingredients to experiment with. But if you ever want to take in the entire European experience then whip out those wine etiquettes, prepare some of the delicious wine & food combos and enjoy.