The som­me­lier’s tool­kit

Halliday - - Basics -

When part­ner­ing wine with food, the two most im­por­tant el­e­ments are tan­nin and acid­ity. It’s their re­la­tion­ship with the ba­sic com­po­nents and tastes of food that un­locks great matches. Tan­nins are a fact of life for red wine drinkers, but with skin con­tact be­com­ing more pop­u­lar in whites, tan­nin is in­creas­ingly rel­e­vant across all food and wine pair­ings.

To dif­fuse tan­nin in wine you need fat and pro­tein in food.

Soft, fine tan­nin re­quires less, while big, rich tan­nins need more. Think prosci­utto with pinot noir, and rib-eye with caber­net. Equally, acid­ity is a white wine drinker’s con­stant com­pan­ion and it re­acts with sim­i­lar in­ten­sity to a se­lect group of build­ing blocks in food. The big one is fat. Think of acid as a wind­shield wiper on your tongue. It cleans out your taste­buds when they be­come clogged with fats and re­freshes your mouth. Acid­ity in wine can be soft­ened with salt, and also works well with foods nat­u­rally high in acid, like that squeeze of lemon you add to your seafood.

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