5 Rules for Wine Pairing

5 rules for wine pairing

Talula’s Garden has been one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia since I first stepped inside.  If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend checking out the website and the menu, making a reservation – and if it’s warm enough definitely sitting on the patio (although make sure you take a peak inside before you leave!).  From the comfortably elegant decorating, to the magical patio, to the impressive food selection, to the extensive wine and cocktail list, and knowledgeable staff – this place really has it all.  And that’s not all, there’s an entire cheese preparing station in the back, which I was thrilled to be allowed behind to take some pictures.

Talulas Garden in Philadelphia, PA Photography Montage

Talula’s Garden is located on Washington Square in Philadelphia, PA.  They also have an additional restaurant called Talula’s Table in Kennett Square, PA and will soon be opening a market right next to Talula’s Garden called Talula’s Daily.  I’m so excited.

I asked Talula’s is they would be willing to share some wine pairing advice with my readers and I was thrilled when they said yes.  Here is wine pairing advice by Talula’s Garden Manager Sean Faeth and brought to you by Aimee Olexy of Talula’s Table and Talula’s Garden and coming soon Talula’s Daily Owner.

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5 Rules to Find a Perfect Wine Pairing

1. Go with the season.

If you’re eating seasonally, a good pairing is as simple as drinking what is appropriate now. For example, when it’s snowing out , you’re probably going to be in the mood for rich, meaty dishes with big warming reds or full bodied, rich oaky whites. If it’s a balmy 95 degrees, that thirst quenching, crisp white or rose will play nicely with some fish and fresh veggies.

2. Don’t Overpower.

Pairing wine and food (or cheese) is like dancing – someone has to take the lead. An inelegant leader drags their partner around and forces them to make impossible moves. Likewise, that powerful cult Cabernet is probably delicious, but it’s asking a lot for delicate seafood to keep up. Keep the body of the meal and the wine in mind and they’ll move beautifully together.

3. Think of Your Guests Too.

No matter how much you might dig a funky, earthy and pleasantly stinky rustic red with your meal, your guests might not be so adventurous. Pick something that will allow them to enjoy their meal too. If you’re the type of person who loves to turn people on to new things, start slowly and you’ll be more successful.

4. Save room for something off dry.

Wines with some residual sweetness have a wonderful ability to highlight flavors. A favorite pairing on our tasting menu at Talula’s Garden was a Vouvray with a Poached Lobster and Persimmon Salad. The slight sweetness of the wine really makes the richness and luxury of the lobster come alive and highlights the fruitiness of the Persimmon.

5. Oregon Pinot (Noir or Gris) is a great cheat card and a great value, too.

Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are extremely versatile partners with food. Pinot Noir has high acidity and soft cherry fruit with some richness of body that allows it to pair well with a wide range of dishes. Pinot Gris from Oregon has bright fruit, good acid and often –though not always – has a great richness of body from aging on the lees. Both wines are delicious and many good producers are available for under $20 a bottle at the state stores.

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For your viewing (and pinning) pleasure, here is a quick recap of the 5 tips.

Pairing Wine with Talula's Garden Philadelphia, PA

PS. Don’t forget to check out Wine and Cheese Party of 4 for Under $80, Understanding 8 Basic Wines, Pairing Wines with Pizza, Choosing Wine for the Holidays, and a Wine and Cheese Party Game.

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  • Ha, I have to admit, I’m a novice when it comes to wine. A novice as in I drink it out of the box 🙂 I’ve been looking for more advice, however. Thanks for the advice!

    • Hey hey hey – don’t sell yourself short, there’s some pretty nice wine that comes in boxes nowadays. And every so often Franzia absolutely does the trick. 🙂

  • Great cheat sheet!

    • Isn’t it? I love how Talula’s broke it down. Thanks for stopping by!!