The art of pairing wine and food is the key to a successful meal and the passport to the most pleasant experiences. It is the ability to create a relationship between food and wine based on the tasting and the use of the senses.
In this article, you will found a short wine and food pairing guide. I hope it will help you to allay your doubts.
Why should you put any effort into it?
If you are a food and wine lover, you are looking for the best culinary experience ever. Matching food and wine exalt the flavours of both for a most satisfying experience. This is why you should learn how to do it. I know, it is not easy!
Food and wine can give very different sensations on the taste-olfactory level, related, on one side, to the individual receptive ability; on the other, to his personal background.
In terms of pairing, there are no absolute rules; however, practising (not boring after all) is necessary.
Let’s start from the main characteristics of the wine
Firstly, you should focus on wine tasting. Take time to discover the number of sensations our mouth is able to distinguish: sweetness, acidity, salty, bitterness, followed by sparkling sensations, tannic acid, alcohol, smoothness, taste persistency, flavour persistence and body.
And what about the characteristics of the food?
When it comes to food, you should focus on sweetness, acidity, minerality and bitterness, followed by a quantity of fat, greasiness, zestfulness, spicy and persistence of taste and scent. Concerning acidity and bitterness, you should always talk about sour trend flavour and bitter trend flavour.
When it comes to sweetness, you should consider sweet trend flavour food, like pasta, bread, shellfishes, meat and all those ingredients that give a delicate sensation. Only when it comes to sugar like desserts, you should talk about real sweetness.
The goal of the game
Once identified wine and food characteristics, you should find a way to match both and create harmony.
The best way to balance food and wine is looking for a contrast of flavours. Start with specific food and select the wine that can offer the opposite sensations.
For example: if you eat a dish full in sweet trend flavour and fatness, you need a wine that will provoke strong sensations like acidity, sparkling and salinity.
A similar successful match is Parmigiano Reggiano (sweet and greasy) and Prosecco (acidity and sparkling).
When you eat something salty and/or with bitter trend or acidity, you need a wine that will provoke smooth sensations.
As an example: grilled meat (bitterness given from fire cooking) and Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah.
In case of very juicy and greasy sensations, you need dehydrating sensations like alcohol and tannins. As an example: stew meat and Nebbiolo.
Sugar is the only exception: in this case, you should look for similarity, not for contrast. The perfect wine for dessert is a sweet one.
Let’s recap! How to create the perfect wine and food pairing
- Taste properly food and wine focusing on the organoleptic properties of both.
- Identify and count sensations.
- Verify harmony between wine and food.
- Use your personal taste.
The moment of truth
Taste and enjoy. A good pairing can highlight and often improve the properties of wine and food. If your match is well done, you will probably have the best steak of your lifetime, and the best wine of course.
At this point, you will know why is impossible to order wine before food at the restaurant, as well as choose one bottle for all the guests wishing that wine could perfectly match with all the dishes ordered. To avoid this, each guest can ask for a glass that pairs with his dish. Maybe, this is not the cheapest choice, but for sure it is the best one.