Now that you have successfully passed Easy Food & Wine Chemistry 101, it's time for the next
lesson. What do these different components of wine mean for pairing food with
Sugar - A lot of people have
the misconception that off-dry or slightly sweet wines are for woosies who don't really like wine.
If you are not a woosie, and you like big, bold foods, make these wines your friend. That sugar is
about the best thing to stand up to hot, spicy or salty flavors.
Alcohol - My tip here is more on what to avoid, than what to do. If you have a
wine that's 'hot' - meaning it has a high alcohol level that burns your palate like a hard liquor
does - it's going to be really hard to pair with food. Stick with wines where the alcohol doesn't
Acid - Getting the right balance of acidity is a key part of cooking as well as
food and wine pairing. Like salt, if you don't have enough acidity in a dish, it just tastes flat.
If you don't have enough acidity in your wine, it may have a pleasant enough taste on its own, and
it's most likely going to also taste flat with food. Opt for wines that have a good acid structure
that's appropriate for your dish.
Tannin - One of the primary characteristics of tannin is that they bind or
shrink proteins. Which means they interact in a special way with protein-heavy foods, such as aged
cheeses and rich, red meats. The tannin also helps cut through the fat of these foods, making both
the rich food and the strong wine more palatable and enjoyable together. Wines with low levels of
protein are generally more suitable for white wines (no tannin) or low-tannin red
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