Wine pairing and molecules

I recently stumbled upon a very interesting article in the September 2012 issue of Food & Wine magazine. As a scientist, I’ve always been interested in what molecules make up flavor and how we perceive them. The article Getting pairing down to a science touches on this subject by reviewing François Chartier’s {one of Quebec’s best sommeliers} “new” book Taste Buds and Molecules.

The original version of this book, Papilles et Molecules was published in 2009, and rapidly gained recognition. In 2010, it won the prestigious “Meilleure livre de cuisine au monde- categorie innovation” {World’s best cookbook- innovation category} at the Paris Gourmand world cookbook awards.

Chartier’s book explores the relationship of aromatic molecules present in both wines and food, and how these resonate in wine pairing. In one of my first posts, about spices and herbs, I researched the main molecules responsible for their characteristic flavor and scent. What Taste Buds and Molecules proposes, is that wines containing the same aromatic molecules as the ones in our food will pair well together. It is a revolutionary, yet extremely logical, way of looking at wine pairing! Take rosemary, for example, with its woody and resinous notes mainly imparted by terpenes and terpenoids {like linalool, pinene, camphor and limonene}. Most of these terpenes are found in Rieslings as well, particularly older ones. So {as the article and the book suggest} next time you cook a lamb roast, with rosemary and juniper berries, try paring it with Riesling instead of the hearty red and let me know what you think!

Can’t wait to get my hands on this book!!

Table from F&W article
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