What are the 2 factors in food that can make a wine taste less fruity and more astringent, bitter, and acidic (read: make a wine taste “harder”)?
Umami and sweetness
Think shellfish paired with Nebbiolo or apple pie paired with Chablis. Nebbiolo will seem overly astringent and bitter with lobster, and Chablis will taste acrid and highly acidic with sweet desserts.
What are the 2 factors in food that can make a wine taste more fruity or sweet, and less astringent, bitter, and acidic (read: make a wine taste “softer”)?
Saltiness and acidity
Think bacon with Syrah or tomato sauce with Chianti. The saltiness of the bacon softens the tannins of Syrah, and the acid from the tomatoes curtails the nerve of Sangiovese.
In broad terms, does food have a greater effect on how wine tastes or does wine have a greater effect on how food tastes?
Generally, food has a greater effect on how wine tastes.
Sweetness in food can make a dry wine taste less ______ and more ______.
Less sweet/fruity and more bitter/acrid.
Think sticky-sweet raspberry tart with dry Left Bank Bordeaux.
Generally, sweet foods should be paired with ______ wines.
Sweet wines - or wines that are at least as sweet as the food (but preferably sweeter than the food) otherwise the wine can taste bitter.
Give some examples of foods with umami.
- Sundried tomatoes
- Aged cheeses, e.g. Parmesan and Gouda
- Cured meats
- Dried Shiitake mushrooms
- Soy sauce, oyster sauce
- Fish sauce, bonito flakes
Umami in food can make a dry wine taste less ______ and more ______.
Less fruity/sweet and more astringent/bitter/acrid.
Think raw oysters with a tannic, high alcohol Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Name some foods that are higher in acidity.
- Citrus juice
- Balsamic vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Unsweetened yogurt
Acidic foods can make a high acid wine seem less _______ and enhance the wine’s ______.
Less bitter/acidic and enhance fruitiness/sweetness.
Think salad tossed in lemon vinaigrette with Sancerre.
What happens on the palate if a high-acid dish is paired with a low-acid wine?
The wine will appear less fruity and potentially taste bitter/acrid.
Think ceviche with a fat, low-acid Marsanne.
Salty foods can make a dry wine taste less ______ and more ______.
Less bitter/acrid/tannic and more fruity and textural.
Think smoked meats with red Côtes du Rhône.
When eating spicy foods (foods high in capsaicin), which kind of wine will increase the burning sensation?
- A low alcohol wine
- A high alcohol wine
A high alcohol wine will make the spicy heat in food seem even hotter.
Additionally, the spiciness will make the tannins of a red wine seem even more bitter and astringent.
Think spicy Szechuan with an tannic, full-bodied Chilean Carmenère.
Fatty or oily foods have a rich mouthfeel and give a coating sensation on the palate.
Which of the following wines will help cleanse the palate of fatty richness?
- A tannic wine
- A higher alcohol wine
- A more acidic wine
- A wine with residual sugar
A more acidic wine will help cleanse the palate when eating fatty or oily foods.
What are the components in wine that can make a wine challenging, or problematic, to pair with food?
- Lots of oak
- High tannin
- High bitterness
- Low acid
What are the components in wine that will make a wine easier to pair with food?
- No oak
- Wines with a touch of residual sugar
- Medium-plus acidity
What are potentially problematic components in food to consider when pairing with wine?
Problematic food components:
- High in sugar (i.e. desserts)
- High in bitterness (e.g. radicchio)
- High in umami (e.g. shellfish)
- High in capsaicin (e.g. jalapeños)
What are some components in food that generally make wine pairing easier?