Concha y Toro

Concha y Toro 23/02/2014

Combination of Food and Wine: The Complement Principle



The combinations of food and wine must respond to personal taste and, of course, the common sense of who prepares the food, as surely by knowing the ingredients in the preparation, he or she will know which is the most appropriate wine.

When it comes to combinations, the list of dishes and wines can be endless. So here we present a basic principle that always works when choosing wine: The Complement Principle; otherwise, it is impossible to choose a wine for a specific dish, since everything varies depending on the dressing, the way it cooked, the proportions of each ingredient, etc.


If you prepare a dish with mushrooms, for example, think about a wine that has aromas of damp soil, mushroom or some derivative of soil. A fruit plate, however, with orange or plum sauce, is complemented by wines of high fruitiness. If it’s a preparation with high acidity, like ceviche, it is enhanced with a wine of similar acidity, like a young Sauvignon Blanc.


You can also complement with textures. A creamy sauce or the creamy or fleshy texture of some seafood go very well with a viscous wine such as a chardonnay aged in wood, which will surely bring a new sensation to the dish.


The body of the wine is also a factor in the combination with food. If it is a light dish you should consider a light-bodied wine; if tit’s a hearty dish, filling and complex the wine should be more full-bodied so it balances the food.

In Chile wines can be listed according to their production and variety, from the lightest to most full-bodied.

Orden degustaciónWhite wines (from lowest to highest weight):
– Riesling
– Sauvignon Blanc, not aged in wood
– Chardonnay, not aged in wood
– Sauvignon Blanc, aged in wood
– Chardonnay, aged in wood

Red wines (from lowest to highest weight):
– Pinot Noir
– Merlot varietal
– Syrah
– Malbec
– Carmenere
– Cabernet Franc
– Cabernet Sauvignon varietal
– Merlot, aged in wood
– Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in wood

Within this list, you can experiment with the wines that are immediately before or after the recommended one, and draw your own conclusions. For example, if for an eggplant stew the recommendation is Merlot varietal, you can also try Pinot Noir or Syrah.

guia de vinos de chile 2005

A great way to enhance both the dish and the selected wine is to think of the most outstanding characteristic of each.

* Excerpt from “Guía de Vinos de Chile 2005”.