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Food and Wine Pairing

When it comes to the culinary experiences, epiphanies are not such a rare thing, with one simple condition: a balanced food and wine pairing in order to bring out the best in both, while enjoying the particularities of each.

The tradition of marching foods with ones is a very old one, mostly in local cuisines, where usually local dishes were paired with local wines. In many regions of the planet, the wine is considered to be a necessary item, almost a staple, during dinner. That’s why wine making has successfully developed why local recipes and culinary traditions developed also. This simultaneous evolution has turned today into a noble art and a connoisseur field with guidelines on how exactly one can perfectly match the food with the wine.

Experts talk about a concept which applies to both food and wine, but in some different ways. The weight is the philosophy behind any matching, and it refers to two subcategories: the weight of the food and the weight of the wine (or its body).

When emphasizing one or another, or both, some criteria is necessary:

  • contrast – a heavy or hearty dish, like a stew, needs a light bodied white wine, for example
  • complement – a certain flavor can be complemented using the right wine to enable the flavors
  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • acid
  • tannins

  • Looking back into history, many famous cuisines associated the specific regional cuisine with the regional winemaking traditions. In France, this was a tradition since long time to combine lamb with red wines, mostly where lambs and red wine were present: Bordeaux, Rhone or Provence. Italian painting also revealed that matching wines with food was a common practice, and rare were the moments Italians didn’t match their dishes with their traditional wines. Contemporary times live the paradox of searching for the perfect everything, including the perfect food-wine pairings.

    As said before, when it comes to food and drink pairing, the secret is the right balance between the weight of the food and the weight o the wine. While food can be described after its intensity, flavors (delicate or more subtle), wine is a real challenge.
    Here are the weights of a body and some examples:

  • light whites– Pinot (gris and blanc), Sauvignon, Chablis, Riesling, Champagne
  • medium to heavy whites – Alsatian whites, Rhone whites (Marsanne or Viognier)
  • light reds – Pinot noir, Dolcetto
  • medium reds - Merlot, Chianti
  • heavy reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, Port

  • When it comes to wine, everything counts, including the alcohol, its sweetness, acidity or its bitterness. These will be the decisive factors that will indicate the right balance between the food and the wine, by contrasting one of the two’s ingredients or complementing it. A pork grill will be surprisingly complemented by a buttery wine from the south of France, due to its round, full fruity and citrus aroma.

    The examples are infinite in pairing wine and food, but the most important rule actually beats the official ones: one just has to like a certain combination, regardless the international rules. At least, that’s what experts say…

    Tags: wine and food, food and wine, wine food, wine pairing, wine guide, cuisine, red wine, white wine, wines, cooking

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