What is wine and food matching ?

Wine and food matching seems to be the recent trend. The concept is based on pairing of the weights of the wine and food. Heavy, red sauce pasta should ideally be paired with say heavy bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, and light salad should go with say light weight Pinot Grigio. The weight of the food is determined by the gradient of its flavors from subtle to hearty flavors.

A key to pairing upon this principle is to identify the dominant flavor of the dish. Sauces can be the dominant flavor instead of the meat or main component. While poached fish is usually light bodied and better served with a light white, if the fish is served with a heavy cream sauce it could be better balanced with a fuller bodied white wine or light red.

However a typical pairing will thrive to have one enhancing the other. Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein described it as food and wine pairing is like two people having a conversation: “One must listen while the other speaks or the result is a muddle”. So either the food or the wine will be the dominant one. One would be serving as a complement to enhance the enjoyment of the other.