Wine and Food

People react differently to smells, tastes, and sensitivities to smells and tastes of wines and foods. Six different tastes are present while eating various foods: sweet, umami (savory), acid, salt, bitter, and spicy heat.

WSET mentions sweetness in foods increase bitter, acid, and “burning” effect of alcohol and decrease body, sweet, fruit taste in wine. Pairing sweet foods with dry wine can rid fruit taste and increase acid taste. The rule of thumb is to select a sweeter wine than food.

Savory flavors in foods cause wine to taste bitter with acid and “alcohol burn” taste. Savory foods decrease a wines perception of body, sweet and fruitiness.

Salt in foods increase body of a wine and decrease bitter and acid taste of a wine.

Acid in foods increase body, sweet, and fruitiness and decrease acid in wine.

Bitter food taste increase bitter taste in wine.

Spicy heat in food increase bitter, acid, and “alcohol burn” taste in foods and decrease body, richness, and sweetness and fruitiness in foods.

WSET describes other factors to consider including “flavour intensity,” “acid and fat,” and “sweet and salty.”

Application

High risk foods include sugar, savory, bitter, and spicy heat.

Low risk foods include salty and acid tasting foods. Note, WSET mentions to match high acid foods with high acid wines to prevent loss of structure.

High and low risk wines