Sunday, 29 March 2009
Food & Wine Matching
Completed our first WSET Foundation Certificate of 2009 on Friday which devotes quite some time to the subject of food and wine matching. We run through the basic principles looking at methods of cooking (poaching, steaming, braising, grilling, bbq, deep, shallow and stir-frying),ingredients, spices, sauces, seasonings, accompaniments, and examine the key flavours in foods (sour, sweet, salty, spicy, smoky). We then look at the main flavours and textures in wine (weight, sweetness, acidity, tannin, flavour and fruit character). Having discussed this we put this knowledge to the test using a carefully selected range of food samples that illustrate the main points. This is where it all starts to get complicated... Food and wine matching is so subjective. Of course there are certain things that shout 'no' such as tannic red with smoked salmon (but who would think of serving this wine with smoked salmon anyway?) and green apple, but above and beyond this it becomes very much a question of personal taste and preference. Living in the Loire, we are limited principally to wines from our region and other regions of France. Discussing food and wine matching with someone living in the UK gives so many other options to choose from as the availability of wines from elsewhere in the world is so much greater. This is not a complaint, just an observation. We are lucky enough to live in a winemaking region that produces everything from dry white to sweet, from light red to full bodied - with a range of grape varieities including Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Romorantin, Pinot Gris, Pinot d'Aunis, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. That should be enough for a start.