The art of matching food and wine is subjective, but following some very simple guidelines can really make a difference to the enjoyment of balancing flavour on the palate.
The simple solution is to use the flavours in the wine as part of the ingredients in the food dish. This is what I call my Food and wine triangle. Imagine a triangle with the 3 corners attributed to acidity, fruit or sweetness and tannin. These are the aspects from which the flavour and texture of food and wine is made up, so all you need to do is break down the constitution of the wine and food items to see what is required to balance the overall palate.
An example is easy to illustrate. Take a platter of smoked salmon with lemon and horseradish. The dish will be placed in the triangle well over towards the tannin corner, less towards the acidity and central to the sweetness. This means the flavour of the food is dominated by tannin, caused by the wood used for smoking the salmon powering coupled with the slightly tannic texture of the horseradish over to the acidity of the lemon.
Then to balance the wine flavour to the dish take a contrasting triangle position with the wine. In other words balance the position on the wine triangle as a contrast by choosing a wine flavour less in tannin, more acidity and less fruit so it has exactly the opposite position to the food.
This is a simplified version of the wine and food triangle and your success will depend on your ability to analyse the components in the food and separately analyse the wine. With good analysis of the raw ingredients you should be able to get a really good balance to your menu.
The fun is in experimenting. With over 30 years in the wine and food industry and having hosted over 2000 wine tasting events for in excess of 30000 guests, we have almost instant recognition of the way wine and food should be put together.
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