The Art of Matching Wine and Food

The Art of Matching Wine and Food 14 Jun 2019

The old saying goes something like this – “red with meat and white with fish or poultry”. Even though there is some truth to the saying, it merely scratches the surface. There is a myriad of possibilities of wine and food pairing. While you may already be conjuring up images of that single bottle of red wine you’ve got saved in your pantry for that balmy winter evening, so why bother to care about what wine goes with what food at all, with only one bottle on deck?

Buying more wine to build up your palate is a simple solution.

Matching wine with food, undoubtedly, is a subjective exercise. With individual taste buds, food and wine that excites you may not have a similar impact on others. Therefore, armed with the knowledge of pairing food and wine may well be the way to impress your dinner guests.

Without any further ado, let’s build on your skill with the help of the wine and food pairing guide.

Know the Basics of Matching Food and Wine

Understanding the art of wine and food pairing can take years. Thus, if you are not aiming for a career as a Sommelier, all you need to know is the basics in order to get the journey started.

Begin with Knowing the Key Characteristics of Wine

It is vital to concentrate on tasting the wine and discovering the amount along with the sensations of tannins, alcohol, smoothness, intensity of flavour, persistency and body and their effects on the four key tastes of sweet, salt, acid and bitter in the mouth and being able to differentiate them.

Understanding Food Characteristics

It is important to focus on four key tastes of sweetness, acidity, minerality and bitterness that is balanced by with the quantity, fat, greasiness, zestfulness, spiciness, persistency, taste and scent of the food.

The Goal should be to Complement, not Overpower

Your wine should act as the spice or extra seasoning for your food. The interaction between individual seasonings and the food will be different. Flavour pairings and seasoning it right should be destined for each to intensify the aroma and taste of your wine.

Let’s check out some classic food and wine pairings:

·        Acidic wines can be matched with acidic foods

·        Tannins is paired beautifully with fatty foods

·        Sweet wines can be complemented with spicy foods

·        Sparkling wines demand a combination with salty foods

·         For a sweet course, pair it with sweet wines

Intensifying the Match

If the entire experience of wine and food pairing sounds gibberish to you, then you can swear by a foolproof rule. The simple way out is to ensure that while matching the food and wine, aligning it with the intensity is an easy method to make sure that one element does not overpower the other. Choose to pair delicate wines with salads, vegetables, fish and poached eggs. If the range of menu includes baked chicken and creamy pasta, then opt for hearty wines. For meat and spicy curry, strong, bold wines go best.

Let the Pairing be Guided by the Dominant Flavour

If there is a lot going on in your menu, then identify the most dominant flavor and pair it with the wine accordingly. So, if your flavor profile demands it, then go ahead with pairing red wine with white meat.

Is there a Need to put in so much Effort?

Modern-day cuisine is a multi-sensory experience. Therefore, by matching the right combination of food and wine, heightens the sensation and permits the food and wine to exalt each other in the best way possible.

This process of pairing is admittedly not as easy as many may presume. Arousing multiple levels of sensations on the taste buds and olfactory system, food and wine is often related to a singular side of the receptive potential of the individual and their personal preferences. While there are no absolute rules of matching food and wine, it is the subjectivity of taste that plays the key role. Along with that, a little practice certainly comes in handy.

The Moment of Truth

The idea is to ultimately taste and enjoy the wine and dine experience. Matching cuisine with the right wine often enhances and highlights the distinctiveness of the wine and vice versa. Through all this rigmarole, it is important to have fun. It does not have to be ahead spin at all. At the end of the day if your food tastes good with the wines that you have matched it with, then you are on the right track.

Therefore, the only winning strategy is to keep testing and tasting!

IICA, New Delhi

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