Lemon entry my dear Watson
Apologies for the heading, I’ve been a Sherlock Holmes fan since being given the complete set when I was a 13-year-old right up until the latest television series, which is brilliant.
Food and wine pairing is generally assumed to be about finding a partnership that will enhance both. But it can also be about choosing a dish or ingredient that will modify the way that a particular wine tastes. Let me explain.
My wife, Marion, doesn’t like acidic wines. For that reason, she won’t drink Marlborough sauvignon blanc because she finds it too acidic. However, if I serve Marion a glass of Marlborough sauvignon blanc with smoked salmon that’s been seasoned with a squeeze of lemon she will enjoy a wine that she would normally reject.
Acidity in food pulls down our perception of acidity in wine. Try it for yourself. The difference can be quite profound. Taste an acidic wine, lick a lemon, re-taste the wine. Big difference.
When choosing a wine to match an acidic dish, even if the dish is only subliminally acidic, it’s a good idea to choose a high acid wine such as sauvignon blanc, riesling, chenin blanc or semillon so you have acidity to spare. If you choose a low-acid wine, like gewürztraminer or pinot gris, the acidic food can make the wine taste bland.