The Art and Pleasure of Pairing

The notion of pairing is often a reference to the relationship between wine and food. The goal of a good pairing is to provide a pleasant experience by combining food and drink. This process involves texture, aroma, and flavors. In turn, there are different types of food and wine pairings. The first relates to those products that originate within the same region, following the wisdom of nature. In general, things that grow together can be combined and will taste good; the second, are those flavors that compliment one another, while the third is when the flavors contrast.

A kind of simple rule, though not absolute, is that the more fat a dish contains, the better a wine with more structure and a longer time in the barrel will be with it. Another rule of thumb is that white fish generally pairs best with white wine. Red meats and darker, oily fish will go well with a red wine, and a sweet wine will go well with sweet desserts. Another clue would be to manage to combine different flavors: bitter, acid, sweet, and salty.

Varieties and pairing

In general, aged wines like Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva, to use the Spanish system, will go well with game meats, stews, legumes, and strong cheeses. A young wine will go well with vegetables, beef, poultry, sausages, and paellas.

Naturally, things are bound to get more complicated, as there is an enormous range of ingredients and flavors, not counting the tastes of each person. But the incredible thing is that it presents us with a great opportunity, because if we consider that a person with the average lifespan of 78 years gets to consume 50 tons of food and 50 thousand liters of drink, there are unending possibilities to practice the art of pairing, and even more so if we consider that this art does not have to be limited to wine, but to any other beverage we choose. For example, let’s think about the variety of tamales that exist in Mexico alone. Now, how about experiencing each of those flavors with the wide variety of beers that exist in the world, sampling until you find the best combination?

Photo: © Ivan Negru’s via

In reality there are no limits to this type of experimentation. Green tea with butter cookies, orange juice with a Russian salad, espresso with vanilla ice cream, cappuccino with chocolate cookies, an Americano and cake, dirty chai and carrot cake, lasagna and a young red wine, chorizo ​​tacos with horchata, a stinky cheese with a sweet wine, all are but a handful of some infinite pairings that can be experienced. Here’s wishing you a tasty time on the search for your favorite flavor combinations!

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