The Trish Rodgers Ridgeway method for wine/food pairing, “Zing!”

Katherine Cole has a fascinating article in the Oregonian today which reviews the very accessible Trish Rodgers Ridgeway teaching method for food and wine pairing.


… Ridgeway guides her students into breaking wine and food into their fundamentals. Wine can be boiled down to six elements: acidity, viscosity, fruit, sugar, alcohol and tannin. Ridgeway’s students taste wines, score them from 0 to 3 according to these six characteristics, then plot a simple graph to serve as a visual aid for each varietal.

Next up: food. According to Ridgeway, most dishes have a single dominant component that can be classified as one of eight rudimentary traits. Salt is evident in cheeses and cured meats; oxalic acid is the bitterness found in vegetables, particularly when uncooked; acidity is dominant in citrus sauces and vinaigrettes; umami, or “savory,” is prominent in mushrooms, tomatoes (!) and soy sauce; fat is in butter, cream or olive oil; sugar appears everywhere from caramelized vegetables to hoisin sauce; spice is that painful sensation caused by black pepper and hot chiles; and protein is predominant in meats.

Students taste examples of each food element — butter for “fat” and lemon for “acidity,” for example — and try them against a variety of wines. From the best matches, they can see for themselves which wines “zing” with which foods …

Read the full article.