The world of food and wine is vast and complex. Each intensifies the senses, bringing joy to the consumer. It is commonplace to hear of venues hosting wine pairing dinners with an array of different foods and wines from all over the world. You may have been suggested a wine pairing while dining at Pisces Rising. So what makes a food and wine pairing so special?
Learning the science behind pairing involves the human senses- taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing. Although, the senses that contribute the most in combinations are taste, smell, and touch. We taste sweet, salty, bitter, and sour and feel the texture, freshness and pungency of cuisine while we chew and bite. Smell is just as important as taste, if not more. It is said that humans are able to differentiate up to thousands of different smells, scents, and fragrances. Aromas are responsible for conveying flavors that cannot be achieved by taste alone. An ingredient can contain a handful of different aromas, however, only a few aromas are projected as noticeable scents to us. These aroma profiles go hand and hand with how food and wine react when enjoyed together.
When ingredients pair well with a particular wine, the five senses come together to work with synergy on the palate. Though, counter-intuitively, opposites often work as great pairings as well. An example is the pairing of sweet wine with spicy food. This often goes great as they counteract each other, lessening the sweetness and the spiciness creating a balance. An example would be a Riesling/Moscato with Pisces Rising’s fried Calamari and Caribbean Heirloom Tomato Sauce.
Part of the dining experience at Pisces Rising is producing a unique experience for the guest by utilizing farm to table ingredients alongside an extensive wine list. Listed below are pairing recommendations provided by the sommelier so you can choose your perfect pair during your next visit. Each recommendation features a dish and wine selection that is available at the restaurant.
Fresh, organic Atlantic Salmon, Wild Rice, Quinoa with Bacon, Cranberries, Avocado Mousse, Frisee Lettuce in a Strawberry Vinaigrette.
Wine Pairing: Rose – Chateau Beaulieu Coteaux D’Aix-en-Provence
This is a complementary pairing as the subtle nuances of strawberry & raspberry in the Rose will pair nicely with strawberry vinaigrette & the cranberries. The Rose will be delicate enough not to overpower the dish and flavorful enough to not be overpowered by the dish itself.
Shrimp –n- Grits
Gulf Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, Peppers, Onions sautéed in a creamy Spinach Sauce over Anson Mills Organic Grits
Wine Pairing: Chardonnay – Wind Racer, Anderson Valley, CA
The seafood calls for a white wine, yet the creamy grits call for a big-bodied wine, so we go to a big, creamy Chardonnay (almost a red wine in disguise). Enough acidity and citrus to really enhance the seafood, and enough body and oaky toastiness to balance and compliment the creamy grits.
Duck marinated in Bordeaux Cherry with Barley, Garbanzos, Sweet Peas, Celery, Red Onion, Beef Broth, Honey Almond Goat Cheese Mayonnaise, and Crispy Carrot.
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir – Failla, Sonoma Coast, CA
The bright cherry will compliment the medium-rare to medium prepared duck breast nicely and the Bordeaux Cherry in the marinade. The acidity in a Pinot will do well to counteract the fat on the duck breast cutting through it and really enhancing the dish as a whole.
Grilled 16 oz. 28 day wet aged Ribeye with a Tomato & Corn Chermoula, Asparagus, Candy Bacon, White Balsamic Reduction, Curly Sweet Potato and Truffle Salt
Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon – Catena Alta “Historic Rows,” Mendoza, Argentina
When you char-grill a steak, you really need a big Cabernet so that the tannins will stand up to and enhance the chargrilled flavors. The dark fruit meshes wonderfully with red meat off the grill.
This helpful chart from www.winefolly.com can assist in the food and wine pairing selection process and also provide valuable information on multi-ingredient and advanced pairings.
If you’ve experienced the science of food and wine pairings before, what did you eat and which wine was the dish paired with? What’s your favorite pairing? Share your stories in the comments below! Never tried a formal wine pairing dinner? Pisces Rising collaborates with The Wine Den in Mount Dora to host wine dinners once every couple of months at the restaurant. Be sure to look out for announcements on the next wine dinner so you can be a part of the experience.