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Liberated Enjoyment

The Liberated Enjoyment
of Wine & Food
by Peter Marks, Master of Wine

So much is being said and written about wine and food pairing. However, wine and food should be enjoyed together, not paired. "Paired" suggests that a certain wine must be served with a particular type of food. But in reality, your chances of enjoying wine and food together can be increased dramatically by balancing specific tastes within the food. In other words, it's the food, NOT the wine!

Here's a new approach to wine and food enjoyment that is truly liberating. The Liberated Viewpoint establishes just one standard – that the wine tastes the same and has the same balance both before and after the food is tasted. Many old pairing "systems" have one common flaw – first, you prepare or order your meal and then must search for that perfect "pairing".

The Liberated Viewpoint looks at the balance of umami, sweet, salty and sour tastes within the food as the deciding factors. The Umami taste, present in all delicious ingredients, and sweet taste, need to be balanced by salty and acidic taste. If the appropriate balance is not in place within the food, the wine is thrown out of balance. If the balance between these tastes is in place within the food, then any wine can be enjoyed with it, regardless of the type of wine or kind of food! White, red, rosé, sparkling, dry, sweet – they will all taste good.

Here's all you need to know:

If the food is high in umami or sweetness, it will make the wine taste stronger. That is, it will increase the alcohol burn, make the tannins in red wine more astringent or bitter, and amplify the wine's acidity to a higher level of tartness. You can counteract these stronger tastes by balancing your food with just salt and acid. For example, adding a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon or dash of vinegar to the food will allow the wine to taste exactly the way the winemaker intended.

On the other hand, if the food is high in acid and/or salt, then it will make the wine taste milder. The wine's acidity and tannin will be significantly reduced and the wine may taste flat and flabby. This time, adding umami orsweetness will return the wine to balance. 

In conclusion, the Liberated Viewpoint allows you drink what you like and like what you drink. You are also free to experiment with any new wine. Throw away the rule book. If the food unexpectedly makes the wine taste unpleasant, then season the food as noted above and you'll be liberated to enjoy the wine once again!


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