You’ve probably eaten some pretty delicious dishes at fancy schmancy (yes… schmancy), restaurants and thought to yourself, “it can’t get much better than this”. Well my friend, we’re here to tell you that if those meals didn’t have wine paired with each course, it does get better… a lot better. In fact, one could arguably say that you have not truly experienced gourmet cuisine until you’ve experienced it with wine. Here are three reasons to include wine in your first or your next fine dining experience.
Historical adages tell us that wine and food have a long history as companions. For example, the adage “white wine with fish and red wine with meat” is a historical saying based on the idea of matching the body of a wine with the heaviness of a given food. Also, historical records indicate that British wine merchants often repeated the adage “buy on an apple and sell on cheese.” This meant if a wine tastes good with an apple, it is likely to taste phenomenal with many cheeses. These adages tell us that for many years people have had wine with food.
If that isn’t convincing enough, there’s always the Biblical stories of wine and food being enjoyed together. For example, during what is probably recognized as one of the most famous dinner parties in the history of mankind, commonly known as “The Last Supper”, Christians believe that Jesus served bread and wine to his disciples. Whether you believe this to be true or completely made up makes no difference. This is because even if someone completely fabricated the story, food and wine pairings were so deeply rooted in the culture of the time, the storyteller included a wine pairing in the story.
Of all the reasons to pair food and wine, one of the most popular ones is based in science. Taste involves substances in food or drinks reacting chemically with taste buds in the tongue. Different molecule interactions lead to different tastes. If you’ve been to a Pur Pairing class, you know that there are five universally accepted basic tastes that stimulate and are perceived by our taste buds: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. When wine is paired with food, the chemical interactions result in a different perception of taste than with food alone.
For example, Tannin is a wine component often prevalent in thick skinned red grapes. Tannin can be described as a bitter taste. However, Tannins remove proteins from the tongue, can clear the mouth of fattiness and refresh the palate in between bites. This is why bold, tannic wines are great for fatty cuts of high protein meats such as Wagyu beef.
It’s An Experience
Wine brings a different element to a gourmet dining experience. Every wine has its own history and its own story. These stories make for interesting additions to the dining experience. Wine can also add to the theme of the dinner. For example, if you want to experience an authentic Italian gourmet meal, then you should pair it with Italian wine from the same region because traditionally, that is how the meal would be enjoyed.
Now you know not to sell yourself short the next time you want fine dining. Wine and food are an experience and they’re simply better together. If you’re going to go gourmet, you might as well go all the way with a great wine paired with each dish!