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Contrasting Contrasting

FLAVOURS Pairing Wine and Food


“there are no rules that work for every

situation and every person”

success, regardless of what experts would have us believe. There are two different approaches to food

and wine matching. You can either match 'like for like' to complement and enhance flavours, or you can use contrasting food and wines to strike an intriguing balance of flavours. Either way will produce great results, and after you've experimented you'll soon decide which way you prefer.

Wines and food with similar tastes work well

together because their flavors and textural com- ponents reinforce each other. A spicy, marinated grilled lamb served with a bold, flavorful sauce and accompanied by a strong Zinfandel, Caber- net or Rhône blend is a good example of pairing for similarity. Contrasting wines and foods can also be

compatible. Here, opposing flavors, tastes and textural components play off each other, cre- ating new flavor sensations in the mouth and cleansing the palate. For an example of a con- trasting taste pairing, try hot & spicy chicken curry matched with an off-dry rosé. The slight sweetness of the wine serves as a delicious and refreshing foil for the spice of the stew. Match meals that are high in oil or creamy

based with wines that are high in acid, to cut through the oils and cream, creating a perfect balance and leaving your palate refreshed. A dry riesling can be the perfect foil for a heavy cream sauce, or a creamy soup. Match a strong and sharp with sweet – the

contrast between a blue cheese and a deliciously sweet late harvest or ice wine makes for an amaz- ing partnership. Be bold in your choices, and you may create


o you find yourself intimidated when it comes to choosing wine? I remem- ber when I was first started truly en- joying wine, the whole food and wine-

pairing thing used to make me nervous. What if I got it wrong? It may come as a surprise, but you may know

more than you think. When it's a chilly night in December, do you reach for a crisp white wine

or a deep warm red wine? When you order a white fish, do you prefer light white wine or a dark rich red? In time I realized that there are no rules that

work for every situation and every person. So relax and don’t waste your time worrying about getting it wrong. At the end of the day, as long as you and your guests are enjoying yourselves then your food and wine matching has been a

a match made in heaven. At worst, a miscalcula- tion will teach you more about your own tastes for the future. It’s a fabulous moment when you discover the delicious alchemy that occurs when you match exactly the right wine with the right food. Every wine lover remembers that "light bulb" moment when it suddenly all made sense, and once you understand the principles behind food and wine matching there's no going back. That said, if you've got a favourite food and a fa- vourite wine and you want to put them together – just do it and enjoy!

Bill Young is a seasoned hospitality professional and a long time oenophile with a private collec- tion in excess of 500 bottles, he is an avid sup- porter of Canadian wines and a former Vice Presi- dent of the Niagara Chapter of the Ontario Wine Society.


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