Wine and cheese clearly go together. But can wine and bread? Bread is a staple when it comes to dining out, and while it’s served, typically, before anything else, it doesn’t just have to be filler before the real meal comes. It also doesn’t have to be just for cleansing the palate when trying different wines. Rather, bread can stand on its own as a snack — while you enjoy it with wine, of course.
Pairing wine with bread is just like any other wine pairing. Since the flavor profile of bread can be incredibly varied, the grain of the bread should be taken into account, just as the grape is taken into account when picking out a wine.
As a general rule of thumb, pick a lighter bread to go with lighter wines, and heavier breads with more complex wines. Acidic wines can be crossed off your list of pairings, at least in terms of breads, simply because they typically do not go well with the texture of most breads, as well as yeast. Of course, as always, there’s an exception to this rule: when you’re eating cheese with that bread as well; then the cheese’s flavor profile will have to be taken into account too. But we’re not talking about cheese and wine pairings (at least not today!)
If you want to pair a wine with a sweet brioche — which is sometimes considered to be a pastry — go for a sweeter, bubbly drink, like champagne. A baguette, on the other hand, can complement a Pinot Grigio. Wheat breads go well with Pinot Noir, while a rye would be better off with a Pinot Gris or Cabernet.
When the bread is combined with other ingredients, then, no surprise here, it’s a whole different ballgame. For one, a bread with fruits or nuts in it would go well with a sweet riesling. Things get complicated, naturally, when the bread isn’t just bread, but it’s topped with something; take garlic bread for instance. It goes best with a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chianti, which also happen to go quite well with spaghetti!
The list of bread and wine pairings can go on and on. As with any wine pairing, it’s all about finding a wine that at complements the food by actually enhancing the food’s flavors. Discover more breads — and wines of course — with a culinary vacation to Europe.
By Liz Hall
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