Saturday, 9 January 2010

If it grows together it goes together?

There is a curious aspect to food and wine matching that has always intrigued me. The concept of locality affecting the suitability of the food and wine match. The idea that wines from a given region, will a priori food that is traditional to the region.
I see several possibly fallacies with this as a concept;
The grapes that are grown in a region are often grown because they are in a suitable climatic zone. So the choice of varietal is due to it's ripening potential, and more often than not, it's ease of cultivation (Graciano in Rioja for example). The food stuff that is grown in a region, will obviously also be items that are suitable for the climate etc. The traditional foods will obviously have always been consumed with the wines from the local area - this I don't dispute, where I have an issue, is when discussing regions, one needs to be cogniscent of changes that may have taken place in their wine making over the last 50 years.
Particularly if you look at warm to hot regions. I would contend that there are virtually none of the major Mediterranean wine regions that are making wine in the same style now as they were 50 years ago. Add to this the increasing ubiquity of Mediterranean ingredients and cooking styles to modern restaurant cuisine and you'll see the crux of my issue.

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