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Perfect Match

Recently, some friends joined us to toast a lovely summer evening with a bottle of Chianti. Sitting together, outside, everything seemed perfect until we each took a bite of the cheese and mushroom raviolis. I'd served them with a simple tomato sauce. The dish was delicious on its own, as was the wine, but tasting them together, the wine became dry, and lost its complexity and fruit. We all wondered what had happened.

You see, in my 20 years as a wine country chef, I've learned that certain foods, when tasted with wine, can radically change how we perceive the taste of the wine.

My insight into food and wine helped me to identify, almost instinctively, what was needed. I added coarse salt and a pinch of ground coffee to the tomato sauce (yes, ground coffee!), and the original flavor of the wine returned. You see, in my 20 years as a wine country chef, I've learned that certain foods, when tasted with wine, can radically change how we perceive the taste of the wine. The foods' taste may alter the subtle composition of what's in the glass - such as the ripe, juicy fruit of our Chianti - by absorbing or magnifying the flavors and tastes of the wine. The good news is that you don't have to be a professional to improve the way food and wine tastes together. You need only curiosity and willing taste buds and that's what the Perfect Match is all about!

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