The Food and Wine combinations
that most of us grew up with were the 'red wine with beef' and
'white wine with fish or poultry' rules. Since then, we've
heard "any wine as long as you like it". In fact,
you should drink the wine you like but understand that the traditional
rules are based on centuries of experience. Once you understand
the simple logic you will be able to confidently match foods and
A good food and wine match is an evenly matched struggle for
your palate . The first bite of the food should be delicious.
The first sip of the wine should be equally enjoyable and it should
replace the taste of the food. With the next bite of food,
the flavors are fresh again it should be as wonderful as the first
bite. If the match is good, each bite of food replaces
the taste of the wine and each sip of wine replaces the taste
of the food. In a poor match, one is so dominant that it
is all that is tasted through the meal.
Most of what we take for taste, is actually a result of our sense
of smell. A typical person can differentiate (on average)
about 9,000 different aromas. Even those of us with a poor
sense of smell can identify more than 3000 aromas. If you
tried to create wine and food matches using all the possible flavors/aromas
found in the wine and in the food, you'd need a supercomputer
to test all the possibilities. Fortunately, good food and
wine combinations can be found much more easily.
of taste is much more focused than our sense of smell. You
can actually taste (on the tongue) only four things: Sweetness,
Acidity, Bitterness and Saltiness. Unless you're
drinking cooking sherry,
you will not come across salt in wines. By working
with the other three tastes (sweetness, acidity and bitterness)
and their presence in the foods and wines we are matching, we
can create very good pairings.
The surest and easiest way to match foods with wines is to look
for sweetness, acidity or bitterness in the food and serve wines
that have the same characterisics. For instance, if your
food item has an element of sweetness, your wine should also be
sweet. Otherwise, the wine will seem sour. If your
dish has bitterness (like the char on a steak) then the best match
will be a wine that has bitterness (from tannins in red wines).
When it comes to acidity, it is easier to think of foods that
benefit from the addition of acidity when selecting wines.
If you would consider squeezing lemon on a dish (like seafood)
then you would want to match that dish with a wine that has higher
White wines with high acid
include : Sauvignon
White Bordeaux and almost all sparkling wines. These wines
usually pair well with most seafood.
Red Wines with high acid
Noir (including Red Burgundys), Sangiovese
(including Chiantis) and Gamay
These wines are usually very good pairings with grilled seafood
and with most red sauces (tomato based).
White wines that have an
amount of sweetness include:
wines, Vouvray, Chenin
Blanc, Asti Spumante and many Rieslings.
is a pink wine the has sweetness and high acidity.
Red wines with an amount
of sweetness include:
Lambrusco and Port (very
Red wines with bitterness include: Cabernet
Red Bordeaux and red Zinfandel.