First and foremost, you should remember that a successful pairing of food and wine is ultimately about enhancing unique taste elements that when brought together compliment each other to become even more enjoyable. Experimentation is key. Try lots of combinations to see what pleases your palate!

* If you’re going to be serving a dish that’s high in acidity (ie: predominant citrus or tomato tastes), match acid in food with acid in wine, this decreases the perception of high acidity. A flatter wine, such as a Chianti, would compliment a more acidic meal. Conversely, if your meal is lower in acid, serve a wine with a little more bite to round out the flavours.

* Match acid in wine with salt in food, it decreases the salt flavour. Briney oysters and caviar are great with Muscadet , and smoked salmon is amazingly complimented with Riesling.

* A more acidic wine is preferred with fatty foods. Since most appetizers and finger foods are fatty a wine with acidity is called for. The flavours of the wine are heightened and the acid acts as a palate cleanser.

* Match tannin in wine with protein or fat in food. The proteins help to prevent dry mouth, which is caused by the tart tannins.

* Match sweetness with sweetness, some wine steals the sweetness from the food and it is not as enjoyable. Sweet food makes sweet wine taste less sweet. A California Chardonnay that’s a little sweet may taste oddly sweet with a piece of grilled swordfish, but put a little mango-red pepper salsa on the fish, and the wine will now taste miraculously dry.

* Match the weight of the food with the weight of the wine (Riesling with Sushi or Cabernet with Peppercorn Steak)

* Compare or contrast flavours (Buttery Chardonnay with a Creamy Chicken Alfredo becomes doubly rich, whereas trying the same pasta with an unoaked Chardonnay will amplify the crisp fruit notes in the wine).

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