The importance of mouthfeel

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selecting a wine based on what feels right

I can never have a conversation about wine pairing without talking about mouthfeel. In the brave new culinary world of our glorious global diet, red=meat and white=fish just doesn't cut it.

Considering mouthfeel provides, I believe, a Rosetta Stone of sorts for understanding how to pair wine and food. Thinking about mouthfeel whilst choosing a drink, is something most of us are already doing at an expert level.

By way of example, consider a choice between milk or beer with your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It's gotta be milk. How about orange juice or an Indian Pale Ale with hot wings? The crisp, carbonated mouthfeel of the IPA is a far better choice to pair with sauce-drenched wings. 

When people feel intimdated about selecting a wine at a restaurant, I believe that relying on their mouthfeel instincts should give them confidence. Think for instance of a Thai-style steak salad. Beef may be the centerpiece of this salad but with loads of chili, lime, mint and peanuts mingling with the meat on a bed of greens, you want a wine that has a light mouthfeel. With its light body and tropical notes, a Riesling from the Alsace wine region would be ideal.

And red wine with fish? Again, think of mouthfeel. Imagine a filet of salmon grilled over a wood fire. The richness of the fish would pair perfectly with a soft pinot noir. 

Next time you're selecting a wine to go with your meal, run through that catalog of mouthfeel memories in your brain and choose with gusto!


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