The Alchemy of Wine Pairings

Posted by Alayne Gardner-Carimi on


There’s a corner in vomFASS Madison where magic happens. Food becomes more than just food. Dinners become more delightful, snacks more sumptuous, and menu courses more creative when they are enhanced by wines from our thoughtfully curated collection. Selecting the right wine can indeed feel like magic, as it has the power to elevate a meal, craft memorable experiences, and bring an extra layer of enjoyment to any gathering.

We always a selection of our current favorite wines available for tasting*. If these wines could talk… the stories they’d tell... or just ask us. We’re happy to share! 

Seven Steps to a Great Wine Pairing

The process of choosing the perfect wine involves a combination of knowledge, intuition, and personal preferences. Our experienced staff is happy to help with suggestions.

Start by evaluating the main ingredients of your meal—Whether it's meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, or a combination of elements, the primary flavors of the dish will guide your wine selection.

Analyze the flavors and textures of the dish—Pay attention to the flavors, textures, and aromas of the dish. Is it rich and savory, light and delicate, spicy, or creamy? Understanding the dish's flavor profile will help you choose a wine that complements or contrasts with the flavors.
Assess the Sauce and Seasoning—Take note of the sauce and seasonings used in the dish. Sauces can significantly influence the wine pairing, so consider their acidity, sweetness, or richness.
Consider the Cooking Methods—The cooking method used can impact the texture and intensity of flavors in the meal. Grilled, roasted, fried, or steamed preparations will influence your wine choice.
Balance the intensity—Aim for a balance between the intensity of the dish and the wine. For example, a bold and heavily seasoned dish may pair well with an equally robust wine, while a delicate dish may be better suited to a lighter wine.
Regional pairings—Explore traditional regional pairings. Certain cuisines have a long history of being enjoyed with specific local wines, and these pairings often work exceptionally well.
A time to be sweet—Dessert wines, such as sweet late-harvest wines or fortified wines, can be excellent choices to serve with dessert, or simply as dessert.

White Magic

The Albariño is a white wine grape grown in Spain’s Rias Baixas region. It is also grown in Portugal’s Vinho Verde region and in California’s central coast. Most of the Albariño grapes are blended with other varieties to make young, bracingly fresh and aromatic white wines. These easy drinking white wines are generally light bodied and dry, with refreshingly high acidity, aromas of citrus and peach, and perky flavors of grapefruit, lemon, apricot, and melon.

Crisp blends, like the Vinhas Altas wine featured below, are best served well-chilled and pair well with salty cheeses, veggies, white fish, shellfish, chicken, and pork. We recommend that everyone have a couple of bottles of this wine, chilled and ready to go.

Dishes with more complexity like hearty pastas, sauces, grilled seafood and root vegetables, may pair better with a white wine having richer character and depth. We recommend the Zarate Albariño from the Rias Baixas region of Spain. This wine is fresh, balanced, mineral forward and has a medium to light body. It boasts uncommon depth, nuance, subtlety, and age worthiness. Wild-yeast fermentation of the grapes and aging on the lees creates a wine with vibrant richness. This is an Albariño that can withstand a bit of aging. 

The Zarate estate is an old one, founded in 1707. They farm the oldest documented Albariño vineyard, planted in 1850. In fact, the Zarate estate uses organic practices and is almost fully biodynamic farmed—the soil is worked manually, cover crops are used for genetic diversity, and they brew their own biodynamic teas for vine and soil treatments. The quality of the plants, the farming techniques, the soil terroir, natural viticulture combine to create an Albariño that has been called one of the best white wines in Galicia and potentially all of Spain.

Scallops with Brown Butter & Capers

Smoked Salmon Carbonara

*Must be 21 or over to participate in sampling or purchase of products containing alcohol. Proof of age required.

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  • Great article! Very informative and well written.

    Brian on

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