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Liebherr wine expert and master sommelier Frank Kämmer presents our series: ‘The secret to great taste: basic rules for harmonising food and wine.’ In a series of ten blogs he will be looking at the ‘basics’ of matching food and wine, and today he is considering which wine goes with which food…

Choosing a wine that will marry really well with a meal often seems like mission impossible. Why does one wine only unfurl its full delights when combined with certain foods, whilst another doesn’t work at all as an accompaniment to that very same food? Rest assured, if you know and observe a few basic rules, finding perfect harmony when you combine food and wine really isn’t all that difficult.

Rule 1: It’s the taste that matters, not the Aroma!

Many wine enthusiasts go to great lengths to match the aroma of a wine to that of their meal, e.g. they search for a particularly fruity wine to go with a fruity curry, or a red wine with a strong accent of black olives to go with Mediterranean spiced lamb. In doing so, although they are in essence correct, they’re actually trying to run before they can walk. Rather than searching for a harmony of aromas, it is far more important to find harmony at the taste level, and we have to bear in mind that our sense of taste differentiates between five flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (essentially, a ‘protein’ taste).

When selecting a wine, it’s also important to be aware of the wine’s haptic properties, such as body, astringency caused by tannins, and the noticeable ‘warmth’ of the alcohol. Harmonising taste is absolutely mandatory, while harmonising aromas is rather more optional: if you’ve got the taste side of things worked out, you can’t really go far wrong with the aroma side of things. In the blogs that follow in this series you will find out how you can get this taste harmonisation spot on.

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