What is the point of wine? Really...why bother? Because it gives us pleasure in a delicious and affordable way.
Well... why not make it more pleasurable? Getting the right glassware, the right company or even the right music can help, but the easiest way to enhance your vino is with the right food.
Now there’s always a lot of talk about the ‘perfect food and wine match’, pan-fried this with subtle oak and nuances of that...blarh, blarh, blarh. What if I told you could make any wine taste better with 5 simple steps? Guaranteed.
Ever wondered why your beer tastes better with peanuts? Or why your steak is even more satisfying when it’s properly seasoned? The answer is salt. It makes everything, including wine, taste better. A true flavour enhancing hero.
Wines will seem softer and fruitier when drunk with something salty. This is particularly handy if you don’t get on with those drying red wines (high in tannin). If words like Barolo or Cabernet Sauvignon have you recoiling at just the thought of them, try one with some ready salted crisps (potato chips).
High acidity foods need higher acidity wines. Things like dry Riesling, Italian whites and Sparkling wines are the best places to find that refreshing bite. When properly matched the wine will seem smoother and tastier.
High acidity wine can also cut through fatty foods. Just like adding lemon juice in cooking.
Sweet food will comprehensively destroy your wine like it was your childhood belief in Santa Claus. It is the enemy. But all enemies have a weakness. In this case, fight fire with fire! Ensuring your wine is sweeter than your food is the best way to triumph.
Often the sweet wine will have high levels of acidity that will help cut through the fat waiting for you in most desserts.
Even if you follow the advice above, chilli spice can still spoil the day. Like sugar, spice will make your wine taste bland and pointless. Nightmare. The solution however, is also our old nemesis - (a touch of) sweetness. But this time in the wine.
A good Indian Restaurant should have a few to choose from on their wine list...a good German orAustrian Riesling should hit the spot.
What works for you may not work for others, so be open to suggestions and experimentation. No one knows your palate better than you.
p.s. word of warning - contrary to common belief - dark chocolate and French Brie rarely work well with wines. Try them with a gutsy red if you don’t believe me...it won’t end well.
p.p.s. If in doubt...Champagne!
Gregory J. Roberts