Balanced Foods Makes Pairing Easier

Using Balanced Foods with Balanced Wines Can Help Your Pairings

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Off the Vine
Wine & Food Matching
Balanced foods and balanced wines make for easier pairings

6th Principle: INTRINSICALLY BALANCED FOODS & WINES MAKE THE BEST MATCHES

No matter what your personal taste, invariably you discover this natural occurrence:  the easiest foods and the easiest wines to find a match for are the ones with their own intrinsic sense of harmony and balance.  This is because taste buds and sensations of tactile qualities work for you collectively. 

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When you add salt to a pineapple, for example, you not only make the pineapple salty, you also increase the sensation of sweetness and decrease the sensation of sourness.  But when it comes to food as it relates to wine, it is always easier to match a dish that does not need as much alteration of taste (like throwing salt on a pineapple) to make it taste better; and vice-versa in the way a wine relates to food.  The simple solution is to find matching components of similarity and contrast in foods and wines that are already well balanced.

This is not to say that a young, overly bitter or hard textured Cabernet Sauvignon cannot be served with food.  But it does narrow your food choices somewhat:  instead of a lamb chop finished with a sweet natural plum reduction or a slightly salty, spice scented Asian marinade – ingredients that can make gamy lamb more interesting, but increase a young Cabernet’s toughness -- you are probably relegated to simply grilling the lamb to a slight char to at least reduce the drying effect of the wine’s tannins, and serving it with a more neutral sauce (if any) made with Cabernet and the lamb’s own natural juices. 

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Then again, if the Cabernet is extremely rough to the point that it is barely drinkable, not even the simplest piece of charred meat will help it taste better.  The same thing for a lamb chop that is drenched in a sauce or marinade that is too sweet, too salty, too spicy hot or sour:  the palate knows when a dish is unbalanced, and so even the finest, smoothest, most elegantly balanced Cabernet Sauvignon will not make that poorly prepared lamb taste better.

After this, it’s all a matter of actual tasting, and soon becoming familiar with the wines we like – just as we continue to discover delicious, new foods – followed by the combinations that make the most sense to you.  The nice thing is the fact that the variations in both foods and wines are virtually endless, and so it will always be as much fun as you want it to be.

 

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