Jun 23, 2007

Wine Pairing (4) : Compare or Contrast ?

Think about the food as having the characteristics of sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness and think about the wine as having sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness.
The way to balance : pair to compare or pair to contrast. Both approaches can be delicious, but the first one is easier to succeed with !
Comparing similar flavors is the simpliest route to wine and food harmony. Balancing like with like create synergy :
  • rich Chardonnay with rich butter-based sauces
  • sweet-tart Riesling with sweet and sour Asian sauces
  • earthy Pinot Noir with earthy wild mushrooms
Contrasting opposing flavors juxtaposes very different flavors to dramatic effect. This approach is more risky. The best of these matches pair a lighter wine with stronger food in a way that flatters both :

  • sharp Champagne with oily smoked saumon
  • sweet Sauternes with a salty bleu cheese.

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