Not everyone likes the same wine, and not everyone may prefer the same pairings. Yes, individual preferences come into play. You might want to drink a light red with a fruity flavor, and you might prefer a dish that brings out the fruit even more. Or I might want to feel the tannins and find my balance with some protein. So palates are different, preferences are different. But through both physical and chemical interactions, we can increase the pleasure factor in food-wine pairings.
I will divide the sensory experiences in pairings into structural (textural) and aromatic, and share both through complementarity, similarity, and contrast.
Structural (textural) experience
To understand the structural (textural) experience in pairings, let's take a look at the building blocks of wine: acidity, tannin, and alcohol, with a pinch of sugar. The more saliva, the more acidity. The more sugar, the more alcohol. With the effect of these building blocks, changes - even transformations - take place in the palate. The palate becomes fresh, dry, warm, ticklish, and even watery. These are structural changes independent of flavors. Let's briefly look at what they are and then we will set the table!
Acid is the sourest building block of wine. When you drink lemonade, when greengages appear in the grocery store, or when you put too much lemon on a salad, you get a sour taste in your mouth, it hits your tongue and palate. Then you suddenly start salivating. This is exactly the sensory effect of acidity. We experience this effect on the palate with wine as with any food or drink with high acidity. The more saliva, the more acidity.
We can think of tannins as one of the building blocks that make up the skeleton of wine. They are tannic acid; polyphenols found naturally in many foods. They are found in the seeds, skin and stems of the grapes. The sensory experience is very similar to a beverage we consume a lot: tea. Let's imagine a cup of tea. After sipping it, it has a drying effect on the tongue and palate, and the tannin in wine has a similar effect. It's as if it pulls on your gums and dries your tongue and palate.
"Is there a wine without alcohol?" No, that's grape juice. The alcohol in wine is produced by alcoholic fermentation. If there is a burning sensation in your throat and a slight heat on your palate after swallowing the wine, watch out! You're probably over 14% abv; so you're drinking a high alcohol wine. When you sip whiskey, your throat gets slightly warm, not as strong an effect, of course, but you can imagine it as a similar effect.
To understand the aromatic experience in pairings, we will taste the wine, we will talk about its flavor. Is there a Kalecik Karası in the glass with red fruits as if cherries are bursting out of the glass? Or is there a sour salad with too much lemon? We will look at the aroma profile of both the food and the wine.