Classic Wine And Food Pairings You Have To Try
Enjoying some classic wine and food pairings can be a great way to explore the wide range of flavor unions available. Here are some you have to try.
Unless you spend lots of time with food and wine zealots (or are one yourself), chances are no one will give you a hard time about always having the perfect pairing. However, there’s a reason why so many people are enthusiastic about certain combinations of wine and food. And while you don’t have to make a fuss about it every time you open a bottle of wine, enjoying some classic pairings can be an eye-opening way to explore the wide range of flavor unions. For anyone new to the wine game, it can be less intimidating to start with the food and follow from there with some tried and true selections. Ideal food and wine pairings don’t have to be a guessing game, and there are various guidelines to approach the task at hand.
Wine Folly indicates that congruent pairings occur when there are many similarities between the flavor profile of the food and wine, whereas complementary ones contrast in a balanced manner. The outlet goes deeper, looking at elements such as the six main taste components and intensity, noting that creativity is always welcome. For a full grasp on the way in which food and wine pairings can lead to magic, try one of these iconic matches that continue to impress palates everywhere. Many of these pairs seem like they were always meant to be, often reflecting the common saying, “What grows together, goes together.”
Champagne & Oysters
Ordering Champagne and a dozen oysters might seem like a luxurious statement, but there’s a solid reason as to why this pairing is so beloved. In fact, a 2020 study published in Scientific Reports even backs it up, reporting that “umami synergy” is responsible for the magical combination. We would have loved to have been on the research team that determined that the corresponding levels of free glutamate and nucleotides in oysters and Champagne creates the maximum amount of umami sensation.
The researchers found that aged Champagne (due to a longer time in contact with yeast cells) and European oysters were the best match, but that’s not to say you should miss out on West Coast oysters and only splurge on pricier bottles. Thanks to the balance of acidity and bubbles in sparkling wine, the study’s primary author explains that the mouthfeel is further amplified (via Decanter). If you aren’t ready to shell out the cash for a bottle of vintage Champagne, look for sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method, which requires some time spent aging on dead yeast cells, making it a good candidate to amplify the umami synergy with the oysters.
Cabernet Sauvignon & Steak
Steakhouse regulars will recognize the well-established combination of cabernet sauvignon and steak. Once you wash down a bite of steak with a bold cab, you’ll understand why they make such a great match. Sommelier Regan Jasper tells Wine Enthusiast that the duo works “as a frame,” complementing the gamey flavors of the meat with dark fruits and noticeable tannins. And Eat North explains that the wine’s astringency makes a great palate cleanser for a fatty steak. Conversely, the protein softens the wine, creating a smooth duo with plenty of weight.
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