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Your guide to informative and fun wine pairings.

How Humans Experience Their Food



tongue2The taste buds on the tongue, and hard and soft palate, detect four of the basic tastes: Sweet, Salty, Sour, and Bitter. The classic “tongue map” is no longer considered correct and these basic tastes are perceived over the entire tongue.

Farsighted, nearsighted, and 20/20, all represent your vision identity. But where do you fall on the taste-scale? Scientists refer to three categories to describe your tasting ability: Supertaster, medium-taster, or – oh my – a non-taster. Not everyone has the same amount of taste buds. Based on their genetically determined number of taste buds, they fall into one of these three categories. http://www.flavorfacts.org/supertaster-medium-taster-non-taster-which-are-you/

Umami ( pronounced you-MAH-mee) is now recognized as the fifth taste. To read more about Umami, click here: http://www.umamiinfo.com/2011/02/What-exactly-is-umami.php


Flavor is the term used to describe the integration of taste, smell, and the fullness of foods and wines. The sense of smell greatly contributes to the flavor of something. While we can detect only 5 basic tastes, we can detect thousands of odors. This is where Aroma plays an essential role when choosing and appreciating a wine.


Things to consider when pairing wines:

  • Consider the body and texture (smell or fullness) of the wine.

  • Consider the intensity of the wine, delicate wines should be paired with delicate dishes, and intense wines paired with robust dishes

  • Sweetness in a wine is a measure of its residual sugar. Typical sweet wines are Riesling, Gewurztraminer (sounds like guh-VOORTS-truh-MEE-ner , or I like to say girls-are-meaner), some Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Bitterness in a wine comes from its tannin structure, especially in Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah , and Malbec.

  • Saltiness is not found in wines, so light and fruity wines pair best with salty foods.


Base ingredients are the primary or core ingredients of your dish, and often play a major role in deciding what wine to pair it with. Also the method of preparation will often determine the wine pairing such as: grilling, frying, steaming, roasting, braising, or sautéing.


Bridge ingredients are those foods which help connect the base ingredient and the wine through their interaction either in flavor, body, intensity, or basic taste (sweet,salty,bitter,sour).


Foods that are hard or near impossible to pair with a wine.

  • Asparagus: contains phosphorous and mercaptan that adversely affects wine flavor.

  • Artichokes: contain an acid called cynarin making everything taste sweet

  • Chiles: makes alcohol taste hotter and tannins more bitter

  • Eggs: yolks coat the palate masking the flavor of wine

  • Vinegar and pickled foods: make wines seem astringent


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