There are many things written about wine and food matching and the more you read the more confusing it becomes. Francois Chartier wrote an excellent book "Taste Buds and Molecules - The art and science of food, wine and flavour" where he presents some very interesting ideas and concepts about the synergies between different types of food and wines. Basically, the premise is that certain foods contain chemcial substances that are either the same or complimentary to those in certain wines. His contention is that it is these charactertics that give "magical" wine-food matches. A good example is pork's natural fruity flavour which is due to the presence of lactones, a family of active molecules with distinctive flavours of apricot, peaches and coconut. This suggests that a pairing of pork with white wines with comparable aromatic characteristics such as Roussanne or Viognier will be an ideal match. Another example is the complimentary nature of cinnamon and Gewurztraminer. Late harvest Gewurztraminer often have hints of cinnamon flavour components, such as cinnamic aldehyde, which are the same components which give cinnamon its identity.
As wines ages we know that there are many different reactions going on in the bottle, these will include acid hydrolyis, polymerisation (linking together of tannins), oxidation and reduction. As these occur so does the chemical composition of the wine. The final composition of the wine will undoubtedly be highly dependent on the time and conditions of storage. All of the above reactions are influenced by both of these factors. Predicting the ageability of a wine or whether it will age is relatively straight forward as it is based on its fundamental characteristics. What is not so easy to predict is what the final flavour will be like after a period of cellaring - there is still a significant degree of the 'unkown' here and to a certain extent this is the 'magic' of wine. To experience the myriad of flavour combinations possible in a wine you need to have a cellar where the wine can undergo its "transformations". Therefore, the quesiton is should you taste an aged wine before deciding on your ultimate wine - food match? Because if you do you may be inspired to try something quite unique! Happy wine and food matching.
I look forward to your comments.
John - Sunday 13 July 2014
Posted: Sunday 13 July 2014