Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

A Perfect Pair - The Art of Wine Pairing

Pairing a wine with a dish is as important as putting the right ingredients into the dish to begin with or finishing the dish with the correct sauce. I often think of it as the last element of the dish. It has a dramatic effect on the flavors of the dish and the dish has a dramatic effect on the flavors of the wine.

There are many ways to pair food and wine. Conceptually, I often try to pair wines from a certain place with dishes that remind me of food from that place. This type of pairing is often referred to as “what grows together, goes together” pairing.

However, I find that in practice, it often works best to find a wine that has an element that the dish still needs. A perfect dish will always be thrown out of perfection by a wine – how could adding something to the dish make it better if it’s already perfect? Conversely, a perfect wine will be thrown out of perfection by food. So the best pairings involve wines that, on their own, seem out of balance and food that on its own also seems out of balance. It’s when those two items come together that they bring to the pairing the element that the other is missing. That’s a magical pairing. A basic example might be a simple oyster on the half shell. Often, people will add a vinegar based sauce to this called a mignonette. Instead of that, you could simply drink a very high acid, zippy white wine like Muscadet. It’s a match made in heaven. The wine is almost too acidic to drink on its own, but with the briny oyster it’s brought back into balance and the acidity is refreshing with that salty oyster.

Andy Chabot, Director of Food and Beverage