One of the most memorable pairing fails I’ve ever had was with a high tannin wine and an expensive bottle of Syrah that we paid the corkage fee for at a nice restaurant. The flavors in our food clashed with the wine and both were uninspiring. What a waste.
Here’s what you need to know about foods that react badly with high tannin wines
11 Foods that React Badly with High Tannin Wines
- Bitter Chocolate: High-tannin wines and bitter chocolate both contain bitter elements, and when combined, they can intensify the bitterness, creating an unpleasant taste.
- Artichokes: Artichokes contain compounds that can make wine taste less enjoyable, especially in combination with high-tannin red wines.
- Asparagus: Asparagus has a distinct flavor that can clash with the tannins in red wine, leading to an unpleasant metallic taste.
- Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits, particularly grapefruit and oranges, can accentuate the bitterness of tannins in wine, creating an unbalanced taste.
- Vinegar-based Dressings: Salads with vinegar-based dressings can clash with high-tannin wines.
- Spicy Asian: Spicy Asian dishes can intensify the perception of alcohol in high-tannin wines, making them seem hotter and less enjoyable.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are acidic, and their acidity can interact with the tannins in wine, altering the overall taste and potentially creating a metallic flavor.
- Blue Cheese: While some people enjoy the combination, the strong flavors of blue cheese accentuate the tannins in red wine (a winning combination is pairing your blue cheese with a quince jelly).
- Raw Garlic and Onions: Raw garlic and onions can have a pungent flavor that may not complement the tannins in red wine, potentially leading to an unpleasant aftertaste.
- Spicy Mexican: Like Asian cuisine, chili heat in your favorite Mexican dish (like onions on tacos), will make your tannic wine harsh.
- Spicy Curries: There’s a trend here. Spicy curries will clash with your high tannin wine.
Personal Note: I have never understood the obsession with pairing dry, high-tannin red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon with dark chocolate. It’s a horrible, bitter, nasty combination. But we all have personal preferences. My preference is Port and chocolate. That’s a pairing I can get behind.
What Flavors to Avoid with High Tannin Wines
The general rule when pairing high tannin wines is to avoid bitter, spicy flavors.
Helpful Tip: Check out this quick guide to wine and food pairing that gives you the essentials.
What Are Examples of Low, Medium, and High Tannin Wines
Tannin in Red Wines
Thirsty for More?
Head over to this 30-second tasting tip on how to taste tannins.
Love tannic red wines? Head over to this list of strong red wines you need to be drinking.