Pairing Principle: Weight

Pairing food and wine based on the weight may be the easiest aspect of pairing, but also has the most exceptions. Look at the bottom for types of wine by body.

Weight simply refers to how heavy or light a dish is and how heavy or light the wine’s body can be.

If pairing food with wine, you want to pair a dish that is a heavy dish if you have a full-bodied wine or a light dish with a light-boded wine.

If pairing wine with food the same rules apply. If the dish you have is a heavy dish, you should pair wine that is full-bodied.

How can you tell the body of a wine?
Think of it like milk:
-If the wine feels like the body of skim milk in your mouth, it’s a light-bodied wine.
-If the wine feels like whole milk in your mouth, it’s a full-bodied wine.
-If the wine feels like 1% milk it’s a medium-bodied wine.

Exception of pairing wine based on weight:
The wine could be light bodied, but could be very intense in flavor. Intense enough to stand up to a heavier dish despite being lighter bodied than the dish.

***Some varietals can be made in all different weights; it varies on the wine-maker or region***

Full-Bodied Red Wines:
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, Australia, Washington State or most New World Wine regions.
Bordeaux
Merlot
Shiraz
Syrah
Barolo (Nebiolo)
Barbaresco (Nebiolo)

Medium-Bodied Red Wines:
Pinot Noir from Oregon or California
Red Burgundy(Pinot Noir)
Barbera D’alba or D’asti
Rioja (Tempranillo)
Merlot
Cabernet Franc
Nero D’avola

Light-Bodied Red Wine:
Pinot Noir from Oregon and California
Pinot Noir from New Zealand
Valpolicella
Rioja (Tempranillo)

White wines are a bit more difficult to break up into these categories, so these are a little more broad:

Light to Medium Bodied White Wine:
Riesling
Chablis (Chardonnay)
Chardonnay
Albarino
Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Medium to Full-bodied White Wine:
Chardonnay from California
Chardonnay from Australia
White Burgundy
Rhone Blends: Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne
Torrontes
Chenin Blanc: Savanierres, Vouvray
Gewurztraminer
Viognier

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