We’ve been told that red wine goes with steak and white wine complements fish, but what goes with kare-kare and adobo?

It can be quite a challenge to break out of that box when a cuisine that packs so much flavor is what you will pair wine with. According to sommelier, F&B consultant, and trainer Lourds Tibay, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this matter. Just drink according to what the land has to offer and what goes with the seasonal ingredients available. She offers the following tips to guide you further.

Appreciate the culture and food

Filipinos tend to like sweet and bubbly beverages, like iced tea and light beer. When it comes to wine, sweet whites work because they are not heavy on the palate. Consider that our food tends to be heavy so the wine needs to be light. Avoid full-bodied reds, as those may clash with the spices and straightforward flavors of items like bagoong. 

Since eating Filipino food is a communal experience, Tibay says it’s safe to share a bottle of riesling, which is generally liked. A summer wine like rosé also goes well with our food and climate. 

Variety is still the spice of life

For those who prefer dry wines, opt for a sparkling shiraz, which goes well with lechon and heavier meats. For grilled items, serve a fruity wine like moscato. For garlicky dishes like adobo, go for single variety wines like merlot as opposed to blended ones. 

You have the last word

A sommelier or server may make suggestions, but ultimately it is the individual who decides what they consider to be a good pairing. It is handy to have these guidelines to allow each person to discover what really works best with their favorite Filipino dishes. It is also important to note that, as our food is making its mark across the world, not everyone who eats Filipino food is Filipino, and their background will surely come into play when it comes to wine preferences. 

Originally published in F&B Report March-April 2015