Wine and the basic tastes
There are endless things to learn about wine. Grapes can develop up to 200 flavor compounds which make this liquid more or less suitable for different dishes, but if you set out only with your palates 5 basic tastes this is – according to pros in outstanding kitchens as well as in outstanding research laboratories – what it's all about:
Wines described as "fresh" or "acidic" probably go well with:
• Acidic food. Since the acidity in the wine minimises the clash between flavors, the acidity (in the food as well as in the wine) is experienced as less intense.
• Spicy food. The experienced heat in the food (which varies from one individual to another) is somewhat reduced.
• DO NOT serve these wines with sweet food since they can make the experience of sweetness overpowering.
• A typical grape in this category is (white) Sauvignon Blanc.
Wines with a bitter, "grippy" or "astringent" character should pair with:
• Acidic food. The sourness in one can subdue the experience of sourness in the other. Bitter and sour happen to be friends (an example of this is lemon with smoked fish).
• Salty food. The experience of saltiness in the food can be somewhat tempered by these tastes/mouth feels.
• DO NOT serve these wines with bitter food. Both food and wine will go overboard and your lips and tongue will pucker up...
• DO NOT serve these wines with sweet food, which will be experienced as even sweeter.
• A typicla grape in this category is (red) Cabernet Sauvignon.
Semi-dry and sweet (dessert)wines go well with:
• Food with pronounced saltiness. An example of this is port wine that goes beautifully with sharp, salty blue cheeses.
• Sweet food, desserts. If the wine is as sweet as the food, both are experienced as less sweet – and more tasty.
• Spicy food. The heat in the food tempers the sweetness, and the sweetness in the wine tempers the heat.
• DO NOT serve sweet wine with acidic or bitter food. Both of the latter basic tastes are part of our "alarm system". The sweetness in the wine can make them an unpleasant experience.
• In this category the sugar content of the grape is of more importance than the type of grape.