Working in the world of luxury yachting means dealing with the finest wines the world has to offer and pairing with gourmet cuisine. As a yacht stewardess, part of your responsibility may include pairing the yacht owner's wines with the chef's daily menu. This can be an art, balancing the flavours of food with the characteristics of wine to create a harmonious dining experience. Here's a simple guide to make this task easier for you.
Step 1: Understand the Basic Principles of Pairing
Before you dive into pairing, it's crucial to understand some fundamental principles:
Match Weight with Weight: Rich, hearty foods pair well with full-bodied wines, while lighter food compliment lighter wines.
Consider Acidity: Wines with high acidity can cut through rich, fatty dishes, and can also balance out a dish with high acid content.
Sweetness & Spiciness: Sweet foods demand a wine that's at least as sweet, if not more. For spicy foods, a sweeter wine can help tame the heat.
Consider Tannins: Tannic wines can counterbalance fatty, rich meats.
Step 2: Familiarise Yourself with Wine Varieties
Having a general knowledge of different types of wine will make the pairing process much smoother. Here are a few basics:
White Wines: Sauvignon Blanc is high in acidity and often has citrus flavours, making it great with seafood and dishes with tangy sauces. Chardonnay, particularly if it's oaked, pairs well with rich fish or poultry dishes, especially with creamy sauces.
Red Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied red with high tannins, is excellent with red meat. Pinot Noir, a lighter red, pairs well with poultry, pork, or dishes with earthy flavours.
Rosé and Sparkling Wines: These can be extremely versatile pairings. Dry rosé is excellent with dishes featuring fresh herbs, while sparkling wines can cut through richer, fried foods.
Step 3: Pair Wine with the Menu
Now that you're familiar with the principles and the types of wine, let's match it with the day's menu.
Starter: If the chef has prepared a fresh salad with vinaigrette, a zesty Sauvignon Blanc would be the go-to wine. For seafood starters like oysters, choose a dry, crisp wine like Muscadet or a classy Champagne.
Main Course: For fish or chicken in creamy sauces, choose an oaked Chardonnay. If the main course is a hearty steak, a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Bordeaux blend will stand up to the robust flavours. For dishes with an Asian spice kick, go for a Riesling with a touch of sweetness.
Cheese Course: Pair fresh cheeses like burrata or mozzarella with light, crisp wines such as Pinot Grigio. For hard, aged cheeses like Gouda or Cheddar, a full-bodied red like Cabernet Sauvignon is ideal. For blue cheese, go for a sweet contrast with Sauternes or Port.
Dessert: The rule of thumb for desserts is that the wine should be sweeter than the dish. A late-harvest Riesling or a Moscato d'Asti can go well with fruit desserts, while chocolate desserts may pair well with a fortified wine like Port.
This guide should serve as a basic framework, but remember that wine pairing can be subjective and dependent on personal preferences. Don't be afraid to experiment and remember the golden rule of pairing: drink what you enjoy! When your yacht owner and their guests are pleased, that's the ultimate indication of a successful pairing.
If you ever need any expert advise you can always reach out to us here.We are always happy to help when we can. Your yachts wine supplier.