For a long time the theme of wine and food pairing has been based on personal experience and taste.
Anyway the first set of "rules" were given by the french wine experts although their principles tended to be quite generic and questionable considering how many times we all brake those rules.
Their idea of wine tasting looks almost like this:
- Sweet white wines and liquorous wines do not pair with red meats or game as well as red wines do not pair with fish and seafood.
- White wines are served first or at least lighter wines are served before bolder and more robust wines.
- Chilled wines go before room temperature - served wines and clearly alchoolic wines have to follow the less alchoolic ones.
I like the last rule the french folks suggest: during a meal do not serve one great wine only but be sure you will serve at least two prestigeous wines!!! Wines are like people: we are better as couples...
In Italy wine and food pairing is a serious subject and hard working wine experts train their skills because it is not based on our personal taste only but it is almost based on specific principles like the contrapposition.
|Usefull wine and food pairing list|
So if I have a juicy-heavy steak a tannic and alchoolic wine will be the perfect match while a squid salad would go better with a fresh but still acidic white wine with a good alchool content anyway.
Why this principle? Because we do not want to cover the taste of our food or other way we do not want to be overwhelmed by a wine when it is accompanying a meal. Wine and food are meant to go together and they are meant to marry in your mouth.
There is anyway a very nice exception in Italy: another principle for food and wine pairing is based on the regional traditions.
We all known we have 20 regions in Italy and we are one single country since 1861, before that date we were divided in states, we were ruled by other countries, as a consequence the food is so different from one region to another that the local grapes and relative wines have been produced traditionally to match with the regional specialties.
What about tasting extra virgin olive oil? I highly suggest you to taste the wines first and then the oil (any kind) because it usually creates a sort of "film" in your mouth and specially in your gums so it can reduce the real taste of your wines.
During a professional wine tasting it will be a good idea to sip some still water to clean your palate and to be ready for tasting the next wine. Otherwise a small piece of plain bread can be usefull as well.
Remember that drinking coffe, smoking cigarettes, chew gums, eat garlic or spicy food is not an ideal behaviour cause it can compromise your taste buds.
One page will never be enough to cover such a waste subject but joining a wine tour while in Italy can be a great idea to start understanding a bit more about how italians drink wine with their food!