Matching Food and Wine (Part 1): Prevailing Views

Red, white or encyclopedia?

If there’s one topic on the wine blogoshere that’s sure to bring out stronger opinions on whether or not Merlot has been over-rated, it’s got to be about how to match food and wine.  There are certainly more views on this topic than there are grape varieties in Italy  and many people in the UK still labour under the misapprehension that it’s impossible to successfully match wine with Indian food.  Alright, a little care and thought is needed, but your efforts will certainly be well rewarded.  In this first of a three part series I’m going to look at some prevailing views on matching wine and food, in the second part I’ll tell you about my own approach to the issue and then in the final part I’ll look at selecting wines to go with some particular Indian dishes.

Many wine nerds believe that wine and food matching is an exact (and complex) science. They claim it should best be practised by those steeped in years of training who also possess a highly developed palate and refined tastes.  This all sounds way too serious for me and above all else wine ought to heighten the enjoyment of the occasion.

Perhaps as a (over) reaction to these thoughts, others claim instead that anything – and everything – works equally well. So a Grover Vineyards La Reserve 2008 with delicately spiced salmon anyone?  Probably not too many takers will love that combination I’d imagine, for there are good reasons why certain food/wine combinations work better than others, for most of us.

My own take on the matter, and probably the most widely held view amongst oenophiles, is that there are some useful guidelines – but not too many rules – when it comes to matching wine and food. I’ll be explaining these in detail in Part 2 where I’ll also point out the importance, when making your choice, of considering your guest list and also why psychology might have a role to play.

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