An example of early food and wine matching advice from a wine merchant in (the caves of) Lascaux:
Bison with white wine, Mastodon with red wine.
–Oberon Kant’s Big Book of Wine
Wines may have certain intrinsic properties, but different people are not all equally responsive to the same tastes and textures. Wine, after all, is perceived. Whilst there may be heaven-sent food and wine matches, the number of variables in play ensures that formula is not quite plain and simple – one must account for all the ingredients on the plate, the degree and quality of the seasoning, the temperature of the food, and whether you are actually tasting the wine before, during or after you put the ingredients in your mouth. The wine itself a may not even be a constant variable in the matching equation. After all, the temperature, the type of glass, even the weather may serve to enhance or diminish its aromas. Finally, there is the human element. Different people have different levels of sensitivity to acidity, tannin, sweetness and so forth. Let’s leave it at this: “If the wine is good, however, a bad match will not destroy dinner.”