The Food and Wine combinations that most of us grew up with were the ‘red wine with beef’ and ‘white wine with fish or poultry’ rules. Since then, we’ve heard “any wine as long as you like it”. In fact, you should drink the wine you like but understand that the traditional rules are based on centuries of experience. Once you understand the simple logic you will be able to confidently match foods and wines.
A good food and wine match is an evenly matched struggle for your palate . The first bite of the food should be delicious. The first sip of the wine should be equally enjoyable and it should replace the taste of the food. With the next bite of food, the flavors are fresh again it should be as wonderful as the first bite. If the match is good, each bite of food replaces the taste of the wine and each sip of wine replaces the taste of the food. In a poor match, one is so dominant that it is all that is tasted through the meal.
Most of what we take for taste, is actually a result of our sense of smell. A typical person can differentiate (on average) about 9,000 different aromas. Even those of us with a poor sense of smell can identify more than 3000 aromas. If you tried to create wine and food matches using all the possible flavors/aromas found in the wine and in the food, you’d need a supercomputer to test all the possibilities. Fortunately, good food and wine combinations can be found much more easily.