Should I sip wine with food in my mouth to appreciate a wine-and-food pairing?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

To fully experience the joys of a wine-and-food pairing, should I sip the wine while I still have the food in my mouth, mixing them together? Or is that an optics faux pas?

—Tarek, Pebble Beach, Calif.

Dear Tarek,

When I was first learning about wine, a mentor told me to chew on a piece of parsley and take a sip of Sauvignon Blanc before I swallowed it. Taste bud fireworks went off in my mouth.

There is no right or wrong way to enjoy food and wine together. But do some experimenting. Take a sip of wine on its own, try the food on its own, and then play around; mingle the food with the wine, or sniff the wine while chewing. Saliva is a kind of solvent for helping us taste things, so I do enjoy discreetly sipping while there is still some chewed food in my mouth, and I take a moment to soak it all in before swallowing.

Pro tip: Take small bites so you have better control on the “optics” as you say.

—Dr. Vinny

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