Matchmaking is a disagreeable pursuit: The professional practitioner, after all, is scorned as mercenary, the amateur as meddlesome; and discontent being too often the natural human state, the would-be cupid is unlikely to be remembered fondly, even in success. Thus should endeavors to pair off people be left in the hands of wise hosts, whose sage couplings need only please the prospective partners for the duration of five courses—from soup, as it were, to Sauternes. Besides, more often than not, the success of a dinner depends less on the physical disposition of diners than on the happy marriage of each dish with its appropriate soul mate from the cellar.
To facilitate this delicate but critical culinary chemistry, we have assembled a list of 50 exceptional vintages of wine—red, white, and otherwise—from regions the world over and arranged them around five food groups essential to winter delectation: fish and shellfish, pork and poultry, mushrooms, red meat, and cheese and fruit. Following our impressions of each selection, hosts will find our recommendation of a comestible complement that, we believe, is certain to kindle romance on the palate.
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