The ‘why’ behind wine pairing


The key to matching wine and food isn’t merely “red wine with red meat” or pairing wine with food from the same region (pizza with Chianti, for example). The key isn’t to be found in so many of the rules that we’ve inherited about pairing wine with food.

The key to matching wine and food is about what’s already in the wine and in the food.

Wine and food pairings work (or not) because elements in the food or wine — things such as acidity, sugar, fat, alcohol, salt and tannin — work well together or don’t.

 There’s a reason beyond “because it tastes good” when you squeeze lemon on an oyster or grate Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese atop a marinara sauce. These combinations appeal because of the interaction of the lemon’s acidity and the oyster’s saltiness, or the fat in the cheese and the acidity in the sauce.
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