Wine and food pairing is the process of pairing different styles of wine with various food items to enhance the overall dining experience. For a lot of people, wine is the choice of beverage for sit-down dinners, brunches and long afternoon lunches with family and friends as it pairs well with most foods. Wines have different components to it taste like acidity, sweetness and bitterness work in unison to create a flavour profile which gives every single one of them a unique identity. Similarly flavours like sweet, savoury, bitter, salty, umami and others, always strike a balance with each other to give a dish its distinct taste. As wine shares many components of its taste profile with food, they go well together.
Food and wine pairing works on three principles, however, to apply them, you should have a basic understanding of food and wine flavours and intensity.
This is when a wine compliments the different flavours and textures of the food. For example, pairing a full-bodied Syrah with a hearty steak or cured meats, or a light and acidic Pinot Grigio with a citrusy seafood dish.
On the other hand, when the flavours of a wine cut through those of the food, or vice versa, we call it contrasting pairing. For example, pairing spicy Indian food with a sweeter style of Riesling or serving Champagne with fried chicken or butter popcorn.
In these combinations, neither of the two overpowers the other or enhances the other’s flavours. The wine and food in these pairings are two separate units that coexist on the same palate and yet retain their individual identity and flavour profiles.
These are pairings in which we can create a narrative that ties food and wine together- like pairing Italian cuisine from a specific region with the wine that locals drink. Such pairings also help people gain a deeper understanding of a region’s culture and lifestyle.
Indian consumers want to try different styles of wine but they have a limited knowledge about how to pair it with various cuisines and courses. They expect the wait-staff, sommeliers and bar managers to assist them in this task. Thus, it is important for hospitality professionals today to be well-versed with the concepts of food pairing so that they can enhance consumer experience.
Helps Retailers Make Better Wine Recommendations:
Many consumers turn to shopkeepers and retailers for recommendations when they have to buy wine for parties and gatherings. Knowing the concepts of wine and food pairing helps a salesperson understand the requirements of their clients better and make recommendations accordingly. By helping your consumer create a memorable experience for their guests, you can gain their loyalty.
Helps Wine Enthusiasts Refine Their Palate:
Food pairing is an integral element of wine culture. Enthusiasts who want to make wine a part of their lifestyle also want to know how they can integrate it into various aspects of their lifestyle, like hosting a dinner party or wine and cheese night for friends etc. The knowledge of wine and food pairing not only helps wine enthusiasts be better hosts but it also prompts them to figure out their own taste in what they drink or what they eat.
If you want to Master the Principles of Food and Wine Pairing then join Wine Education courses like WSET Level 1 and WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Sonal Holland Wine Academy's Certified Wine Pro which covers the topic in-depth.