January 29, 2013

Avid readers of my column in the ABWM magazine may recall this article was originally published there in May 2010.  I always refer to what I consider to be a wine & food match made in heaven.  So if this title indeed made you think you had died and gone to heaven then read on……………………..

The classic combination of red wine and cheese is, in my humble opinion, up for discussion. I’m not saying it doesn’t work I just don’t think it’s the only possibility. It is a scientific fact that the tannins in red wines react with protein; foods with a high protein content will soften the effect of the tannin on the palate. Hence the reason that steaks and roast meats also go well with tannic red wines.

But do you want to just take part in a science experiment or do you actually want to match the flavours – wouldn’t that seem like a better idea?

Basic wine & food pairing rules state that after analyzing the elements of taste in both the wine and the food you should always match their weights along with intensity of flavours. So a nice rich dark chocolate mousse/pudding or cake will need something equally luscious, deep and mysterious on the wine front. A youthful & light Beaujolais is not going to be enough here. We’re looking at something like a moody Malbec from Argentina or a sumptuous Sangiovese-based Italian wine from Tuscany in particular.

My students know by now that given half a chance I will pair a red wine with chocolate. Both Merlot and Zinfandel go particularly well as the grape varieties can exhibit chocolate undertones themselves. Bear in mind these wines are dry and fruity– not the “sweet and sticky” variety.

If you really can’t picture a pudding with a dry red then you may find your match in two particularly interesting sweet red wines. Both Maury and Banyuls from the south of France will fit the bill.

If you want some more ideas check out the chocolate-based recipes on my website and see what we drank with them. Get a feel for some heavenly combinations.


Leave a Reply