I know you are thinking about Ross Gellar right now, me too. But people who study food (sign me up for that!) believe that humans can perceive a fifth taste. Move over sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Umami is linked to the savoury characteristics of food. Shellfish, meats, mushrooms and cheeses are high in umami taste. This makes pairing wine so much more fun (and confusing)!
After you all read last weeks post about pairing wine by complementary flavours, I bet you were dying to find out how to go about matching wine with contrasting tastes!
The goal is to enhance your meal with a wine that has textures and flavours that aren’t yet present in your dish.
Pasta with a thick cream sauce might pair well with a dry, crisp sauvignon blanc to counterbalance how heavy the dish is.
A fruity and crisp Riesling would pair nicely with an earthy dish like portobello mushrooms and lentils.
Cabernet Sauvignon pairs excellently with simple flavours like hard cheeses.
Spicy food with spicy wine could take away from the dish. Try something refreshing like a sweet white (gewürztraminer) or fruitier, medium-bodied reds (pinot noir).
Realistically, it’s all about your personal preference. You don’t have to follow any wine rules, you do what you want! Sometimes I eat food so fast I can’t even taste it, so pairing wine really isn’t high on my priorities list.