Food and Wine Pairings

Food and wine go together because of the complements and contrasts they offer to each other. Food tastes better with wine because wine offers another set of aromas, flavors, and textures that act as a foil to the aromas, flavors, and textures of the food being eaten. Think of the first bite you take of a slice of rare roast prime rib of beef. With that first bite you smell the rich aromas, taste the full flavor of the meat, and experience the full range of tactile sensations in your mouth. While the second bite is good, it can't be as good as the first because your nose and mouth are already used to the sensations the roast beef provides. The senses of taste and smell are easily fatigued. The way to refresh them is to offer an alternative set of aromas, flavors, and sensations. A drink of wine does just that. This is the most basic way in which food and wine go together.

Many people are content to say that if the food and wine are both good, then the match is good. They are right but only in that the match is good; it isn't excellent, outstanding, sublime, or heavenly. These levels of enjoyment and appreciation only can be reached when the wine does more than act as a contrast to the food. In the best matches, the wine compliments the food at the same time as it offers a contrast.

Some foods work so well with certain wines that the match becomes a classic. Classic food and wine combinations include:

The keys to making the best matches are an open mind, a willingness to experiment, and an understanding of why certain foods taste best with certain wines. This understanding is partly intuitive but the confidence necessary to be brave in matching flavors comes from experience.

The following pages offer some general guidelines to matching food and wine. While these guides have exceptions that come readily to mind, they offer a good starting point

STYLES OF DRY WHITE WINES AND HOW THEY GO WITH FOOD

STYLES OF RED WINES AND HOW THEY GO WITH FOOD. OTHER TYPES OF WINES AND HOW THEY GO WITH FOOD