Ever wonder what wine goes great with chicken? Are you grilling up a steak dinner for family and friends and want to know the perfect red wine to go with it? This article will focus on how you can find the perfect food and wine pairing method.

Today more than ever there is an abundance of information to help you find the perfect flavour combination. When it comes to food and wine paring, there’s one old adage most people stick to: “What grows together, goes together.” For example, you may have tried a Decoy 2010 Napa Valley Red Wine with your steak and found it delightful; or you may have tried Rosso di Montalcino: 2006 Il Poggione with your pasta and loved it. There’s a fair bit of science going on here that makes these flavours go so well together.

So what is a good food and wine pairing method?

When you break a wine down you start to realize that all wine is made up of different characteristics, including acidity, bitterness, alcohol level and sweetness. When you start looking at these flavours as ingredients, it makes it infinitely easier to find a food and wine pairing method that works best for you. For example, Fettuccine Alfredo with asparagus pairs very nicely with forcefully acidic Sauvignon Blanc. The acid has a way of balancing the sauces considerable richness, and the Sauvignon’s earthy tones go very well with asparagus, which can make most wines taste unpleasantly vegan.

Taste is science

food and wine pairing - taste receptorsAt a very young age, children learn that our taste buds are capable of at least four sensations: sweet, sour, bitter, salty. In recent years, however, scientists have expanded on the traditional tongue map, allowing one, and possibly two, primary tastes into the original four. In the early 1900s, a Japanese scientist sought to detect another taste — that of the savoury seaweed common in Japanese cooking. Kikunae Ikeda eventually isolated glutamic acid as a distinct fifth taste. He named this fifth taste umami, a Japanese word meaning delicious, savory taste. You can taste umami in meats and tomatoes.

Eager to build upon this theory, researchers found a breakthrough in mid 1985 while failing to replicate the taste of MSG using the common four tastes. It wasn’t until 2002, however, that French researchers actually found a potential receptor for fat. Fat very well could be the sixth taste!

How the food chart works

Wine Folly has put together this wonderful chart for food and wine pairing, focusing on the flavours as ingredients.


In this example, they selected a few ingredients and a preparation method to show you how the poster can create guidelines for a successful pairing. Remember to focus on the most important flavours as the key ingredients.