There are so many “rules”  that you can read about pairing, but we think three simple ones are all you need. We call them our 3 Rules for Food and Wine Pairing. Clever, right?

1. Start with what you like.

Don’t drink a wine you don’t enjoy just because it’s “supposed” to be good with a certain dish. Instead, start with what you enjoy.

Comparison: Have you ever grudgingly invited people over that you don’t care for because everyone else says they’re fun? Sometimes it’s best just to stick with the friends you know will make you smile and laugh all night.

2. Consider the weight and preparation of the food.

Heavy foods pair with full-bodied, bolder wines while light foods pair with light-bodied wines; a poached chicken salad, for example, doesn’t carry the same weight as a jerk chicken. Consider the wine as a condiment of sorts for the dish, thinking about the sauce or seasoning.

Comparison: Sumo wrestler in a tutu? A flute and tuba duet? Yeah, it doesn’t work for us either…

3. Aim for balance.

Wine shouldn’t overpower food, nor should food overpower wine. Balance can be achieved by matching flavors (an earthy Pinot Noir with mushrooms? A citrus-filled Sauvignon Blanc with fish?) or by pairing opposites (spicy foods often pair wonderfully with sweet or fruity wines).

Comparison: Dan and Leslie are very similar. They love each other. Paul and Trina are very different. They love each other, too. Love is good… and so is wine.