Father’s Day is just around the corner, and of course in Italy it means only one thing.
Moment of gathering to spend with family and loved ones, and of course, an excuse to eat and drink well.
Enjoying dolce far niente with friends and family is a must if you want to fully experience these unique holidays.
The Tuscan experience will never be complete without a great food and wine pairing.
So let’s recount what the tricks can be to surprise our loved ones with spectacular and unexpected pairings.
What is the most important element for a functional food-wine pairing?
Is all about balance.
Like everything else in life
How can we create balance?
Underlying everything, there is a common sense rule to follow, which is that the taste of food and wine should be harmonious and balanced.
This means that the flavors must be balanced, without one overpowering the other: the pairing of wine and dish must, in fact, offer a complete and engaging experience.
To get off on the right foot, it is a good idea to have in mind the characteristics of the dish in question (i.e., whether it is sweet, spicy, sour, fatty), in order to be facilitated in finding the oenological counterpart (wines, in fact, are also distinguished by acid, sweet, salty and bitter, as well as by tannicity, acidity and savoriness).
A game of concordances and contrasts
The trend, today, is to associate wines and foods according to concordance and contrast, as indicated, for example, by the Mercadini method; according to this method, in order to achieve a harmonious pairing, the characteristics of the wine must contrast, or agree, with those of the dish (or its intensity).
Generally, when talking about concordance, the structure of the food, relative aromaticity, savoriness and sweetness are taken into consideration.
This means that, for example, for a light dish a young wine should be preferred, while for a savory and spicy dish it will be better to choose a full-bodied, structured, aromatically rich wine.
Beware of desserts and sweets, which also require the presence of this characteristic in the wine; otherwise, in fact, savory and bitter notes would prevail in an unbalanced way.
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Contrast, on the other hand, is required by most of the sensations perceived in a food.
For example, savory, bitterish tendency and acidity of food should be muted by the softness of wine (to be used, also, to contrast spicy dishes).
Particularly fatty, greasy and succulent foods, on the contrary, are well balanced with the hardness of wine.
The sensation of fatness, in the palate, is mitigated by a wine with a good dose of savoriness, while the typical ‘slipperiness’ brought about by the unctuousness of a food is countered by the roughness of the tannin.
Succulence, which produces a lot of liquid in the mouth, is balanced by the alcoholicity of the wine (which, by dehydrating, ‘dries out’).
With this information in mind, you have a good basis for getting an idea regarding the most suitable pairings.
What order to follow when serving wines
According to the classic rules underlying the pairing of wine and food and how to serve them, a specific order should be followed.
One should, therefore, follow a progression in crescendo, starting from the lightest wines and arriving, then, to the more structured and intensely flavored ones; consequently, this indication is valid, also, for the dishes, which are presented at the same pace.
Indicatively, therefore, one should serve, first, young, light, cooler (at low temperature) and dry wines, concluding, on the other hand, by offering aged, robust and room-temperature wines.
Alternatively, a different approach can be taken by alternating structured dishes and wines with lighter foods and wines.
One must, however, keep in mind that food/wine pairing does not represent an exact science, but that everyone’s subjective taste comes into play.
Therefore, it is fine to follow guidelines, but giving room for one’s own creativity.