HomeAbout UsWine ReviewsArchivesAdvertiseContact Us


Whitley On Wine

Wine Review Online Radio

W.R. Tish

Leslie Sbrocco

International Wine Center

The Great Wines of America

Wine Style Book

Gold Medal Wines

New York Times 'The Pour'


Critics Challenge

San Diego International


WRO Wine Blog

October 19, 2016

Wine Pairing A Two-Way Street

 If you have even a passing interest in wine, you've no doubt heard that wine enhances the dining experience. Entire books are dedicated to explaining which wines go best with what foods. For the most part, wine-pairing advice is well-thought out, and it will no doubt impress family and friends when you follow the suggestions.

But there is another part of the equation that isn't talked about often, and that is the sometimes-tremendous difference in your perception of a wine once you've enjoyed it with food.

Don't believe it? Take this simple test. Next time you visit your favorite wine shop, pick up a bottle of Chianti. Take it home, and pour a glass. If you don't wrinkle your nose at the first few sips, you are the exception.

Chianti is a red wine from Tuscany that is typically high in acidity. While the acidity may soften over time, most consumers don't lay down their Chianti to age until that perfect moment will arrive. Many red wines, particularly Old World reds, also seem imbalanced between fruit and acidity. They taste tart when young and generally aren't embraced as casual sipping wines.

Now, pour another glass of Chianti, and chomp on a few olives. Maybe throw a few bites of cheese into the mix, or a slice or two of prosciutto or salami. Something miraculous will happen: The tart, acidic characteristic that made you wrinkle your nose will disappear, and the purity of the black cherry and red-fruit flavors in the wine will blossom.

The wine that seemed awkward, disjointed and maybe even downright unpleasant will take on another personality — reflecting smoothness and roundness, and notes of flowers and spice that you hadn't even noticed the first time around. Try it with a roasted chicken or pizza, too.

Pairing food and wine isn't always about finding the right wine for a specific dish. Sometimes, it's about finding the right foods for the wines you want to drink.
Posted by Robert Whitley at 11:02 AM