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Wine & Food

August 30, 2010

Howdy Friends,

red wine

Mine is Wine! (Photo credit: Judy **)

I was curious about wines and how do the go with what type of food…This article answers most of my questions…cheers !

Food and Wine Pairing

Wine and food matching is complex. Many books have been written on this topic. However, before you submit to the many complicated or inflexible rules presented by apparently trustworthy experts, remember that in the 1890’s the best restaurants in America regularly served sweet white Bordeaux, like Barsac and Sauternes, with oysters and other shellfish. This is exactly the opposite of today’s taste.

Although history supports evidence of the earliest wine making dating back to the Stone Age, it is the Romans who first professed to enjoy food & wine as a regular fare. While we have moved on from the simple food offered thousands of years ago, the assortment of food choices and the enormous variety of wines available today can seem overwhelming. The rules for matching food and wine, in this day, have relaxed a bit. Nevertheless the fact is that certain flavors mix better together than others. It’s just a question of knowing what they are.

Drink The Wine You Like

We recommend that the first thing you do after choosing the food is to drink wine that you enjoy. Forget the rules. Overlook all those Do’s and Don’ts  Forget about complicated rules for choosing the right wine to enhance the food on the table. This is not a perfect science. Just use common sense and follow your own instincts.

Choose a wine that you want to drink all by itself. Or, if you like a particular wine and want to drink it with everything that you eat – why not? Even with all the hoopla regarding matching food and wine, you will most likely drink most of the wine without the accompaniment of food. You will drink it before the meal, during cooking and after you’ve finished your meal. Therefore, you will not go wrong if you make sure the food is good and the wine is too. So, even if the match is not perfect, you will still enjoy what you’re drinking.

Wine and Food Common Sense

This is where common sense comes in. The old rule about white wine with fish and red wine with meat made perfect sense in the days when white wines were light and fruity and red wines were tannic and weighty. But today, when whites can be heavier and fuller-bodied than reds, color coding does not always work. T here is a whole new world of wine out there and better matches to be made.

As a general rule of thumb, red wines are heavier and more complex than white wines. White wines are usually a good wine for beginners because they are initially more appetizing to novices since they often tend to be sweeter.

Red wine is made from grape juice that contains skins, seeds, and stems. Leaving juice to mix together with the woody bits (known as maceration) causes the finished product to contain tannins. To understand the term tannin just think about a strong cup of tea. That woody taste is tannin. It can lend a wonderful complexity to a red wine.

Many flavors are common in both white and red wines. Both can be spicy, buttery, leathery, earthy or floral. But the apple, pear and citrus flavors in many white wines seldom show up in reds, and the currant, cherry and stone fruit flavors of red grapes usually do not appear in whites.

More Common Sense In Matching Food with Wine

Simple wine with simple food …

As a starting point, it makes sense to enjoy everyday wines with everyday food. Save those fancier bottles for more elaborate meals and special occasions.

Hearty food needs a hearty wine …

Otherwise it will make a lighter wine taste bland.

A light dish requires a light wine …

Fresh seafood for example, is best enjoyed with a delicate, relatively ‘neutral’ wine such as Muscadet.

Weight is not the only consideration …

Wine and food can be full of flavor and aroma without being heavy. Aromatic Thai dishes are enhanced by equally aromatic whites such as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. For Indian-style curries, try late harvest Gewurztraminer or a young Syrah-rich wine from the Rhone.

Match acidity …

Try to match the same acidity levels in your food to your wine. A tomato salad has a high acidity and needs a crisp, slightly tart, un-oaked white to go with it. Likewise, you need a fresh, tangy sweet wine (high acidity) to go with a fresh fruit dessert (more high acidity).

Rules For Matching Food & Wine

For those of you who wish to follow the rules, here are a few for matching wine and food, Like with Like:

  • Sweet wine with sweet food
  • Sour foods with acidic wines
  • Bitter with bitter
  • Salty food with acidic wines
  • Red wine with red meat
  • White wine with white meat

Other Basis Rules:

  • Neither the wine nor the food should not dominate one and over the other.
  • Consider the finish on the wine, wrapping the whole dish together.
  • How tannic is the wine? High tannin would need high protein.
  • The acidity of the wine should be considered, for example, to cut through a rich risotto.

When matching dessert wines, think of the desserts sugar strength, bitterness and sour notes as this will determine the sweetness of the best wine choice

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