What’s often asked is does the wine complement the taste quality of the food, or does the food complement the wine. What needs to be appreciated are the distinct flavors and the different tastes and aromas the wines offer.
The distinct aromas of berries, nuts, fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs, gives us appreciation about the flavors that they portray.
It’s thought that developing a delicate wine palate through eating, can actually be accomplished by taking a few steps of taste recognition.
The Distinct Tastes Of Wine
This begins by knowing the basic taste experience categories of wine, such as its acidity, sugar content, oak, tannin, fruit, and alcohol content.
Tannin is derived from the skins of grapes and is what provides the structure for the red wines, which can either be bitter or astringent.
It’s also found in tea, so to experience what tannin has to offer, steep rich black tea longer than you should, and then sip it slowly. Allow it to coat your mouth.
The actual flavor of the oak comes from the barrels where the wine ages, and can often reveal a hint of vanilla.
The acidity which supplies structure to the white wines, can taste tangy or tart.
Bite into a citrus such as a grapefruit or a lemon, and you can experience the acidic structure found in white wines.
The sugar content controls the sweetness of the wine.
The alcohol is what makes you tippy, and both should be well balanced with the fruit.
If the alcohol content is too high, it’ll leave a burning sensation on the aftertaste, much like the after effects of a shot of tequila.
Know The Distinct Flavor Profiles Of Wine
The flavor of the various red wines will display the taste of the various red, purple, or black berries and fruits.
What’s also entangled are flavors of leather, pepper, vanilla, chocolate, or even mushrooms.
Herbal influences can follow the traces of sage, parsley, thyme, or rosemary.
Distinct Red Wine Aromas
• Cabernet Sauvignon: blackberry, chocolate, black pepper, vanilla if it’s oaked
• Grenache: raspberry, strawberry, black pepper, smoke
• Pinot Noir: rhubarb, raspberry, cherry, mushroom
• Malbec: red cherry, plums, flavors of earth
• Syrah: blackberry, black pepper, vanilla, mint
• Zinfandel: black pepper, black cherry, mint
The Lightness Of White Wine
What white wines exhibit are more tart flavors, usually lighter fruits with more focus on the tropical or the citrus.
They can include aromas of kiwi, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and lighter fleshed fruits such as pears, apples, or apricot.
Vanilla also appears in white wines if aged in oak barrels, such as the Chardonnay’s.
The Chardonnay’s are known for their buttery or caramel aroma provided they have aged well.
Distinct White Wine Aromas
• Chardonnay: apple, pear, butter or vanilla when oaked
• Champagne: apple, strawberry, pear, nutty, yeast
• Sauvignon Blanc: lemon, lime, grapefruit, asparagus
• Pinot Gris: apricot, peach, pear
• Riesling: lemon, lime, peach, honey
• Viognier: apple, pear, floral, minerals
• Prosecco: apple, lemon, lime, honey
Appreciating The Various Tastes Of Wine
Learning to taste the distinctions of wine can be achieved by eating the foods, where the flavors and aromas appear in the wine.
So know the exact herbs, berries, fruits, and vegetables that they complement.
Eat raspberries, strawberries, and rhubarb, and then keep their flavors on your tongue when tasting Pinot Noir, then determine if you can detect them.
Whiff the aroma of butter, eat green apples, pears, and then appreciate the flavors of the Chardonnays.
Cherries, blackberries, and chocolate for Cabernet Sauvignon.
What the true wine aficionados will often do, which is considered a more advanced approach, is consume foods which are polar and unfamiliar combinations, which are unappropriated to the wine.
So combine pepper with cherries and mint, and then remember that combination when sipping the true nature of Zinfandel.
Combine mushrooms and raspberries, and then appreciate the harmony which is Pinot Noir.
For those who are more adventurous, choose to go beyond the fruits and vegetables, and chomp on a cigar, absorb the smell of its leaves, take in the aroma of leather, etc.
Pairing Food With Different Wines
The ultimate quest is to marry the exact taste of food with the distinct aroma of wine.
What takes place is the delicate art of arranging wines with food.
Deciding on choosing which wine to match with what’s on the dinner plate, can prove to be the most challenging of tasks.
You need to first learn about the spirit of the wine, and at times allow it to choose the food for you.
So instead of learning specific pairings, become familiar with what the main ingredients of your dishes are, and then know the exact flavor profiles of the different wines.
When thinking of the particular fruit or vegetable flavors of the wine, ask yourself what will go well with them.
What’s generally known is that cherries and plums won’t go well with cod for instance, so never choose Malbec with your white fish.
What’s preferred is citrus which is known to go better with this type of fish, so choose something citrus such as a grapefruit aroma wine base to go with your dinner, such as Sauvignon Blanc.
It’s also known that the deeper rich fruits will usually compliment well when serving a lamb dish, for instance.
Always choose a deeper rich fruit wine such as Red Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon with red meat.
Fowl such as duck is known to complement tart cherry flavored wines, in this case Pinot Noir.
The Art Of Matching Wine With Food
Realize for most, the exact matching taste of wine and the servings of particular foods, are usually reserved for the distinct connoisseurs of fine exclusive food and beverage.
Also, not all pairings will always work in concert with one another, or your particular taste or mood that evening.
You’ll need to distinguish your own preference, then combine your own unique flavors.