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Dear Dr. Vinny,

When wines are paired with foods to complement one another, what is the recommended method of tasting (and appreciating) the synergy? Are you supposed to mix both the food and wine in your mouth at the same time? Do you follow each bite with a sip of wine, or do you follow each sip of wine with a bite of food?

—Tony C., Baltimore

Dear Tony,

I think this is a really good question, and I'll ignore the editor who commented, "Yikes! I hope I never share a table with this guy!"

I do all of those things and more, just never with my mouth open. I'll sip the wine, savor it, and then take a bite. I might mingle the food with the wine. I might sniff the wine while I'm chewing. The first time I ever had a wine and food experience that sent chills up my spine, I was instructed to chew on a piece of parsley, and before I swallowed, I was told to take a sip of Sauvignon Blanc. Fireworks went off in my mouth.

I've asked around, and it's not uncommon for people to use wine to "rinse." Just do it discreetly—and get your elbows off of the table.

—Dr. Vinny

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