Some vegetables, such as artichokes, spinach, sorrels, and asparagus, contain a molecule called cynarine, which is the main culprit in failed pairings between food and wine. Our taste buds feel it as a metallic and unpleasant aftertaste or, in some cases, too sweet sensation. In front of the artichoke, for example, wine always loses.
For a correct wine pairing, we must eliminate barrel-aged wines, both white and red. I also recommend you consider some other ingredients which soften the effect of cynarine. Do not forget the sauces like the hollandaise. Or the cheese or cream. A good share of protein and umami flavor can give another dimension to a pairing with artichokes or asparagus. In this case, mineral wine is an appropriate choice.
The egg by itself does not get along with wine. It has an intense aroma and flavor, especially the hard-boiled eggs. But the pairing can work if we add other components. So fit it as one of the ingredients for example in a sandwich or salad and add other components that can ve well match with wine.
The aroma and taste of smoked aliments, as in the case of meats, fish such as smoked salmon, and cheese, not only intensify the weight and flavor of proteins but tend to dominate the scene in our mouth. It is so predominant that it covers the taste of the wines and, in the case of wines with smoky notes, makes this feature stand out even more. The way to escape from this situation is to uncork some aromatic varieties.
One of the most difficult tastes to create a good pairing is the spicy food, as is the case of some oriental cuisines. Indian or Thai recipes contain many spices, and even very hot chilies, which don’t agree with the wines.
The hot spices highlight the tannins and the alcohol of the wines, making them more aggressive. And vice versa. The wine increases the burning sensation on our palate. It’s like putting out gasoline on the fire. Therefore, we are facing a vicious circle.
If the dish is too spicy, I recommend lowering the grades and accompanying it with a beer or, as is done in the Far East, with a cup of tea.
If you want to evaluate and understand a wine well, you must leave aside the products with intense aromas, such as perfumes and cigarette smoke. You should also avoid eating garlic, drinking espresso, or consuming mint, both toothpaste and chewing gum.
Mint is very good for digestion, but with wine, it has nothing to do. The molecule of menthol does not make the wine more beautiful than it is. Quite the opposite. Some experts argue that a dessert with mint must be accompanied with a wine that has sweetness, a rich aroma, and intense acidity. That is very personal. In my case, I say no to the mint. Yes. Firmly.
Chocolate is undoubtedly the most delicious ingredient in the world. But cocoa contains so many tannins that it is very difficult to live in harmony with the tannins present in the wine.
In this conflict, one of them must give way. The best thing to do is to choose a wine with a lower tannic load, so instead of young full-bodied reds better to choose some older vintages, at least if it exceeds 5 years of storage when the tannins are more smooth.
If we want to mitigate the impact of chocolate, the most natural way is to add some milk components like cream, milk chocolate, whipped cream, dessert sauce, or simply add fruits like raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries.
The best solution is to choose a wine with power, not only with great alcohol and tannic structure but also with a high level of sugar, such as Porto, Madeira, Recioto, or Amarone.
Pistachios, hazelnuts, and chestnuts are not the most favorite food for wines, especially when they are toasted. The risk is great because they remind us of a defect that appears in wines: the so-called cork aroma. The healthiest thing to do is to skip these ingredients or replace them with nuts and almonds.
Marinated pickle food or fermented foods, such as cucumbers, mushrooms, plums, beets, or herring, are the perfect snack. Its flavors are so intense, that in Central Europe are traditionally served with vodka. And the discussion is over.
The acidity of the vinegar is a nightmare for the wine and, in the specific case of herring, we have to add the fat of the fish. It’s too much for wine.
Vinegar is also the basis of the emulsions or sauces that we use for our salads. This intense taste breaks the balance between the acidity and the sweetness of the wine. It is very noticeable in the case of reds.
To make this challenge to work, the wine must be firm and dry, even with tannins astringent and high acidity. My trick is to replace the apple or white vinegar with a raspberry or add a drop of honey to provoke a counterpoint with its acidity. We can also prepare a dressing for a salad based on white wine or simply lemon juice.
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