Ever wonder how chefs and sommeliers craft that perfect wine pairing menu? According to Mark at Petit Philippe, some of it is science, but much of it is art. He believes there are fundamentally two ways to approach the task. Here’s his approachable guide for your own wine pairing.
Think of this as the perfect marriage in which each partner has a similar personality profile, contributing to the same aromas, fruit and taste nuances to create a harmonic taste. An example here is a chocolate truffle infused with Chambord. The raspberry liqueur perfectly balances the delightful red primary fruit in an off-dry Italian dessert wine, Brachetto, from Italy’s Piemonte region. The frizzanté (or slightly sparkling) light red wine is not cloyingly sweet and full of lush aromas, fragrance and aromatics, with intense red fruit—a lot like the chocolate truffle. The pairing profile here marries two symbiotic styles. It’s a conservative approach, but makes for a seamless, elegant outcome where the collective whole lifts the individual components.
Here you might think of a pairing as a juxtaposition. Using the marital example above, this scenario is more along the lines of opposites attract! This methodology might be less orthodox, but the idea is that both players bring their own attributes to the table. Our example is a rich white chocolate ganache with Japanese matcha green tea and lemongrass perfume paired with a Premier Cru grower Champagne from Rilly-la-Montagne. The clean, dry style of sparkling wine comes from its high percentage of Chardonnay grape, which offers notes of fresh apple, mint and tarragon with salinity and subtle chalkiness. The pairing objective here is grounded by the idea that bright acidity offsets cocoa butter fat, and savory bubbles lift exotic Asian spices. It’s not an obvious assemblage, but makes for a lively ensemble.