Wine and food pairing

A perfect wedding?

We can not speak of wine without bringing into topic food as well. These two elements are strongly influencing each other, their organoleptic characteristics interact, a reason because of which it is very important to find a good match between wine and food in order not to ruin the pleasure of the “banquet”.

Which are, if there are such, the rules to follow in order to make a good match? Does it exist a universal and “ scientific” method of pairing?

The rule is: there are no fixed rules…

Certainly there are some basic indications to take into consideration when matching wine with food, but in many cases it is better to follow the proper sensibility and experience rather then the rigid schemes from the wine magazines. The art of matching wine and food is therefore an art of experimentation, based on knowledge.

First step: identify the components

Experimentation does not mean improvisation: as we said, on the basis of all this, there should a certain knowledge. But knowledge of what?  First of all of the components of taste, concerning both the wine and the dish in question.

A dish can be sweet, bitter, acid, chilly, spicy, aromatic etc. It is also important to take into consideration its  consistency ( level of greasiness, presence or not of sauces) and the type of cooking (baked, fried, grilled etc).

As long as it concerns the wine, one should be able to recognize certain characteristics as acidity, presence of tannin, softness, alcohol content, aromaticity etc

Of all these aspects, it is important to individuate the dominant ones both in wine and in food, although sometimes the same characteristic can be recognized in both, but expressed at a different level.

Second step: choosing a method

As we have said before, there is not an universal method for wine and food pairing. There are therefore two basic guiding principles: matching by concordance and matching by contrast.

Matching by concordance  means to associate a certain characteristic of a food to its correspondent  characteristic in a wine ( for example, a sweet food matched with a sweet wine) in order to  “exalt” it in the food.

Matching  by contrast works  the opposite way, it aims to  “soften” a certain characteristic of the food by matching it with an opposite characteristic in the wine. For example- a very greasy dish is matched with a wine with high acidity and tannin.

Other criteria to take into consideration

We have already spoken of the comparison of tastes and the choice of a method, there are also other criteria which we shouldn’t forget when creating our wine and food matches:

  • equilibrium: in the match the wine should not “ disappear” neither “ dominate” the dish, balance and equilibrium is the key for everything
  • regional traditions: both wine and food are strongly connected to a certain territory and its traditions, it is important to make the matches taking into consideration these aspects

In the next articles, we are going to speak further of the matches between Bulgarian wine and Bulgarian dishes, with special attention on the Mavrud grape variety.

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