‘Le mariage entre mets et vins’: On the Geographical and Historical Origins of Pairing a Food with a Particular Wine in France Richard Warren Shepro Vast portions of the landscape of France are defined by vineyards, many dating to Roman times, and French cuisine has such an emphasis on regional dishes and wines that it is natural to assume that what the French refer to as a marriage between a dish and a wine is a straightforward matter of geography and history, with regional dish and local wine dancing together, influencing each other’s development, and growing old and comfortable in each other’s company. There is much truth to this simple narrative, but the question of why a dish is viewed as marrying with a particular wine – and why those not respecting the rules might be regarded as unrefined or ignorant – is far more complex and intriguing and has not yet 346 been told in any comprehensive manner. It turns out that most of the ideas about these ‘marriages’ are not so very old at all. Even such a broad and simple idea as ‘red meat with red wine’ – the rule typically but erroneously understood today as the most immutable and consistent of all wine pairing rules – has an elusive and not ancient origin. Works on French regional cooking and on the history of French wine treat their subjects with precise French rigour, but rarely have analyzed food and wine together. Most experts have a focus on food or wine, not both. Evidence of what was eaten with what wine in what region at what time is scarce. It may be that certain food and wine customs were so thoroughly agreed upon that no one needed to mention them. Important cultural norms of manners or behaviour are often left unmentioned because they are so universally accepted as to be obvious: the obvious or implicit is ignored. As the French literary critic Bernard Pivot has noted, French literary works often have vivid descriptions of food at meals but then merely say that the wines were exquisite without revealing what those wines were.1 Still, deviance from established norms is often imagined or commented upon, and I am still in search of examples from French literature of characters feeling anxious or humbled for choosing the wrong wine. Paintings can occasionally be more illuminating. Although paintings rarely illustrate the pairing of un mets with un vin, there are some intriguing examples: for example, the 1735 painting, Le Déjeuner d’huîtres: le saute-bouchon (The Oyster Lunch: The Flying ‘Le mariage entre mets et vins’ Cork), by Jean-François de Troy (Figure 1). Another complication is that many wines in earlier eras had names similar to wines produced today, but they were classified, produced, or consumed in different ways, making analysis of how wines were paired with food difficult. As late as the end of the nineteenth century the colour of wine was viewed as a rainbow of colours including green and blue, instead of the dichotomy of ‘white’ and ‘red’ prevalent today.2 The grand cru Burgundy Le Chambertin, deservedly prominent today, owes some of its 347 prestige to its reputation as the favourite wine of Figure 1. Le Déjeuner d’huîtres: le saute-bouchon (The Napoléon, yet the wine Oyster Lunch: The Flying Cork), by Jean-François de Troy Napoléon drank did not (1735) (Wikimedia Commons). come exclusively from the small parcel of land that produces Le Chambertin today, or even from the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin. It was vinified in different ways, and Napoléon did not savour it as a profound part of a complementary dish: he drank it as a refreshing beverage, mixed with chilled water and ice.3 The intensity with which the pairing of food with wine has long been viewed in France is dramatically revealed in the anonymous Enlightenment ‘philosophical’ novel Thérèse Philosophe (1748), in which the main character refutes the idea of free will on the basis of wine pairing rules. ‘Am I not free to drink with my dinner either Burgundy or Champagne?’ she asks, but only rhetorically. Only in ‘a far-off haze’ could one imagine one had a choice, because if a person actually ‘sits himself down at the table and orders oysters: the dish demands Champagne’.4 (Given the context, it is clear she is referring to effervescent Champagne, although most ‘Champagne’ from the sixteenth until well into the nineteenth century was a still wine, red or white.5 Le Déjeuner de huîtres shows Food and Landscape the popularity in fashionable mid-eighteenth-century aristocratic circles of pairing oysters with the relatively new, formidably expensive, and frequently explosive sparkling beverage that had begun to resemble the Champagne we know today.) Two hundred years later, Roland Barthes emphatically described the deep importance within French culture and the French psyche of having rare beef with red wine: ‘Steak participates in the same sanguinary mythology as wine […] whoever eats it assimilates a taurine strength.’6 Moreover, ‘knowing how to drink is a national technique which serves to qualify the Frenchman, to prove at once his performative power, his control, and his sociability’. A ‘collective morality […] embellishes […] the gros rouge with a piece of Camembert’. And ‘absence of wine is shocking, like something exotic’.7 If certain dishes and certain wines go together so intimately that they form a ‘marriage’, then, just as with a marriage, can the bond be so tight that the food and the wine should be considered an inseparable entity? The wine is surely not a mere beverage or accompaniment if its absence is shocking. The ‘national technique’ of knowing ‘how to drink’ celebrated by Barthes can also constitute a considerable burden. A curator at an important wine museum in France told me recently that she feels sorry for young men today: they are expected to have the sophistication to select the right wine yet few today learn this skill from their fathers. There is a certain degree of pressure in a country where people quote Paul Claudel as saying, ‘Le vin est un professeur de goût’ (Wine is a professor of good taste).8 Like the art of carving, learning to select ‘le meilleur accord’ has long been viewed as a male rite of 348 passage, but perhaps this was not so before the nineteenth or late eighteenth century.9 Certainly before individuals began to host meals in restaurants, beginning just before the French Revolution, any coordination of food and wine could all be done for the host by professionals.10 In a restaurant, however, a patron acting as a host would be confronted with a choice of wines, written or oral, subject to some time pressure, and the potential for performance anxiety. Some could take pleasure navigating these rapids. In Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina, the character Oblonsky acquits himself well in the face of a French-speaking waiter, hesitating for the match for his poularde à l’estragon only momentarily between a ‘Nuits’ (red Burgundy) and ‘the classic Chablis’ that a modern sommelier might advise for poultry because of the soft, aromatic qualities of the tarragon.11 Marcel Proust, often an acerbic chronicler of manners, was not so self- assured, and wrote a bit plaintively to a female confidant before hosting a dinner party, ‘tell me what I ought to order […]. Do you know about wines?’12 Although choosing the right wine can be a test of ‘breeding’ and ‘taste’, it can also cut across class lines as part of the national identity cited by Barthes. Although the vins des ouvriers may be viewed as lesser wines, Pierre Bourdieu, the pioneering sociologist of ‘taste’, found in France in the 1970s that manual workers devoted more time and interest to gastronomy than did executives and professionals.13 The origin of food and wine pairing is, of course, geographical. Before food and wine were generally transported long distances within France, wine and food evolved ‘Le mariage entre mets et vins’ together.14 In some cases, a local wine is used for cooking and, whether used in a dish or not, it is natural to use the same local wine to accompany the local food. Boeuf à la bourgignonne is made with red, originally Burgundy, wine.15 Coq au vin in Burgundy uses red wine, while in Alsace, where most of the wine is white, a local dish is poulet au Riesling. More surprising combinations emerge geographically as well. The eel stew known as matelote in Bordeaux is made and paired with red Bordeaux wine, a concept that nowadays might shock those who think they are classicists because they pair seafood and river creatures only with white wine. In other regional combinations where wine was not a cooking ingredient, I would argue that the qualities of the wine, the selection of ingredients, and the cooking techniques evolved together so that the wine and the dish enhance each other. An example is agneau au pré-salé, lamb that grazes on nearby salt marshes, drunk with red Bordeaux wine, especially Pauillac, grown and produced nearby. Another regional tradition some might find surprising is the association of the assertive chitterling sausage andouillette de Troyes, with its regional wine, Champagne. On the other hand, Thérèse’s oysters-and-Champagne and Barthes’ emphatic embrace of red wine with rare meat are in no way geographical, yet the pairings they represent are presented as definitive, immutable rules. It is worth considering what other factors are at work, and why? Methods of pairing – or reasons pairing might be irrelevant – have appeared and disappeared at different places and in different historical periods. I posit that French history reveals that there are four essential methods of analysis 349 for pairing food with wine, each unique and each needing to be placed in its historical context: I will refer to them as (1) the geographical pairing, (2) the sequential pairing, (3) the analytical, intrinsic, or even ‘alchemical’ pairing, and (4) pairing the wine with the person rather than the dish. First, the geographical pairing. Although this is undoubtedly the oldest sort of pairing of wine and food, because wines were of course drunk locally, there are issues with historical continuity in large part because, as discussed below (‘pairing the wine with the person rather than the dish’), it is not necessary to pair food and wine at all, and people have not always considered that gastronomy was a consideration in the selection of wines. Since medieval times, Paris has been the place in France where the broadest selection of wines was available, but I have seen no evidence that Parisians eating in Paris tried to match regional dishes with wines of the same region prior to the twentieth century.16 The pairing of oysters with sparkling wine from the landlocked region of Champagne is just one counter-example to the geographical pairing. In his celebrated 1826 book, Physiologie du gout, Brillat-Savarin – the lawyer who was one of the earliest French chroniclers of gastronomy – describes some dinners he experienced while travelling, including a regional pairing that might be criticized today: good dinners in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had ‘fine game from the neighbouring Food and Landscape mountains’ and ‘excellent fish’ from Lake Geneva, both ‘moistened, according to our own wishes,’ with a simple local white wine.17 If today’s ‘rules’ had been extant but implicit when he wrote, he would never have admitted to eating game with a white wine without some sort of explanation. However, Brillat-Savarin may have been following a regional tradition based on the evolution of a local cuisine to complement that locally available simple white wine. The regional marriage is still presented in best-selling French manuals as a ‘grand principle’ of pairing: La façon la plus spontanée d’accorder mets et boissons consiste à marier les produits d’une même région. Ici, c’est le contexte culturel qui est mis en avant. La gastronomie française, compose d’une multitude de cuisines régionales, est un modèle du genre. Cassoulet et rouges du Sud-Ouest, choucroute et blancs d’Alsace, huîtres et muscadet, les exemples ne manquent pas. (The most natural method of matching dishes and beverages consists of marrying products from a single region. Here the cultural context comes first. French gastronomy, made up of a multitude of regional cuisines, is a model of this method of pairing. Cassoulet and reds from the Southwest, sauerkraut and Alsatian whites, oysters and Muscadet: there is no shortage of examples.)18 In fact, as usually described today, the geographical pairing has many of the qualities of an invented myth, akin to other received histories of the nineteenth and twentieth 350 centuries for things that appear ancient and respect older traditions but may not be authentically old, such as Scottish tartans (product of Victorian England), Viollet-le- Duc’s medieval French churches (often imaginative reconstructions), the châteaux of Bordeaux … and the French cuisine bourgeoise itself.19 My research suggests that the regional pairings viewed today as so essential in France became important outside their particular regions only as a result of two parallel changes in French culture: the growth of automobile tourism and of writings aimed at gastrovoyagers. The earliest examples of the latter may be the influential series of booklets on the regional food of France, La France gastronomique, that Curnonsky and Marcel Rouff wrote beginning in 1921. During the same period, the Michelin tyre company’s guidebooks encouraged motoring and exploration. Michelin gradually added restaurant ratings from 1923 (the first listings) to 1933 (when the new three- star rating system was extended to cover all of France) and these proclamations of merit also encouraged visitors to consider dining a reason to travel.20 It is no wonder these meanderings caught the imagination of the French and created a feeling that a wine is best in its (food) milieu: strict regional pairings created a correct marriage. But there was something else new: the idea that these marriages could be celebrated and renewed back home, following the regional tour. Appreciation of food and wine builds on memory and imagination, and if regional dishes are paired with regional wines, every meal becomes an adventure, whether while motoring through a new ‘Le mariage entre mets et vins’ region or back at home. The regional marriage becomes part of the almost mystical appreciation in France for ‘regional dishes’, however modest, and a confirmation that these dishes constitute, for the nation and not merely for the inhabitants of the region, ‘our communal roots, the mysterious patrimoine du goût buried in our collective unconscious’.21 Traditions related to some regional pairings can be so obscure and narrow that they become revealed only when someone writes to criticize them. In his influential 1997 book, the Parisian restaurateur/sommelier Philippe Bourguignon wrote that it is important in the search for harmonious alliances not to be too categorical: ‘Since no one can distinguish a médoc from a Saint-Émilion in a blind tasting, why impose a médoc rather than a Saint-Émilion on a rib steak?’22 An extreme example of regional pairing influencing the development of the regional cuisine is the food of the city of Lyon and the region just outside, sometimes viewed as the gastronomic capital of France, where, from the early twentieth century, ‘pots’ of humble Beaujolais (and its more refined cru Beaujolais cousins), made just north of Lyon, became the unique accompaniment for almost all dishes. If a cook always knows what wine will be drunk, she or he will easily and perhaps unconsciously adjust the cooking so that the wine and the food always work in synergy; and, conversely, dishes that might not go well with the universal wine may fall into disfavour. That is the essence of regional pairing. But wine styles are not static. From 2011 to 2014, a series of legal changes have allowed Burgundy style wines to be made in the Beaujolais region, and Burgundy négociants have begun to invest there.23 Will the new wines cause the 351 regional style to evolve? Second, the sequential pairing. The goal of the dominant pairing principle at formal dinners in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was to create a ‘crescendo’, by requiring light wines before heavier wines, less precious wines before more precious wines – and, generally but not necessarily, white wines with seafood, red with meat. It was not possible in most cases to have more precise pairings, because formal dinners followed the principle of having many dishes within a broad category on the table at the same time (service à la Française).24 At formal dinners, the idea of serving one dish at a time (service à la Russe) only appeared in the nineteenth century.25 At the same time, wines had become more consistent, in part because bottling and consistent storage became prevalent after stronger bottles that allowed better aging were developed.26 In order to pair precisely it is necessary to have wines whose qualities can be predictably anticipated before the bottle is opened. These developments were prerequisites for allowing a particular dish to be paired with a specific wine, with predictable results, thus paving the way for the third type of pairing. Third, the analytical, intrinsic, or even ‘alchemical’ pairing, which requires analysis rather than geography (although it will often validate the wisdom of a geographical Food and Landscape pairing). The history of analytical pairing can be illustrated by looking at the successive editions of one of France’s key culinary reference books, the Larousse Gastronomique.27 The following passage appears as a subentry under ‘Vin’ in the three most recent editions: 1996, 2007, and 2012: Mariage des mets et des vins. Marier un vin et un plat est une aventure toujours exaltante mais souvent aléatoire. L’accord parfait demande de la modestie, de l’intuition et de l’expérience pour que naisse le ‘troisième goût’ qui fera la fusion entre les arômes et les saveurs des mets et du vin. (Marriage of dishes and wines. Marrying a wine and a dish is an adventure that is always exhilarating but often random or unpredictable. The perfect match demands modesty, intuition and experience to create a ‘third taste’ that will blend the aromas and flavours of food and wine.)28 This statement has no parallel in earlier editions of the Larousse Gastronomique. The first edition (1938), by Prosper Montagné, does contain an exhaustive chart of pairings, as do the editions of 1960, 1967, and 1984, but they contain no notion of ‘fusion’, or as some others have said, ‘alchimie’ (alchemy), a term that may have started in the 1990s with Alain Senderens, the three-star pioneer of the Nouvelle Cuisine who said in 2004, ‘Je ne peux plus conçevoir un plat sans un vin’ (I can no longer design a new dish without having a particular wine in mind).29 Senderens worked closely with Jacques Puisais, a chemist who became an advocate 352 of encouraging restaurant patrons to choose their wine first and then select the dishes to go with it. He believed that the education of ‘taste’ in food and wine takes time and humility.30 Drawing on unstated but understood ‘accords priviligiés’, not rules but favoured ideas from the past, Puisais gently suggested slight deviations from received tradition in hopes of occasionally creating felicitous marriages and ‘moments of happiness’ that were precious, rare, and mysterious.31 Soon after, Patricia Wells, writing about a series of meals at Senderens’s restaurant, Lucas-Carton, in Paris, announced a new era of synergistic creation. Wine pairing was no longer a matter of good taste and decorum but the creation of something new. Senderens, she wrote, looks for notes in a wine – whether one of fresh or dried fruit, of toasted nuts, of wood or the woods, of herbs of the garrigue of Provence (fennel, thyme, bay leaf ). When you find these elements in wines, he asks, why not match them up with the real thing? […] When a single wine and single dish seem to merge as one, we are forced to pause, taste and think about the interplay of wine and food […]. Weeks later, what my memory recalls most vividly […] is the puddle of creamy polenta laced with white truffles from Italy, a dream of smooth textures, intense fragrances, rounded out by the cool Corton Charlemagne 1990 from Domaine Bonneau du Martray, rich with truffle and woodsy essences of its own.32 ‘Le mariage entre mets et vins’ Despite Wells’s claims of new-found synergies (I, too, was dazzled by the pairings of that phase of Senderens’s career, especially with his lièvre à la royale, paired with a thirty-five- year-old Chateauneuf-du-Pape Château Beaucastel, which Senderens said recapitulated the scent of the stomach of the hare), Puisais and Senderens were classicists, describing and executing combinations based solidly on tradition, using all their knowledge and good taste to describe or create something memorable to the experienced connoisseur. A new world of analytical or intrinsic pairing has emerged since then, perhaps spurred on by scientific investigation or, more likely, by the introduction into French cuisine of foreign or novel dishes for which there are few traditional pairings. François Chartier, a French-Canadian, has poured decades of research into analysis of underlying tastes, deliberately with no concern for tradition or geography, and teamed up with the highly original chef Ferran Adriá to arrive at entirely novel solutions. Although rare, roasted cuts of beef he sees as in harmony with the traditional pairing with ‘red wines matured in oak barrels’ (geographically unspecified), he implores diners to eat boiled beef with ‘a rather generous white wine that’s moderately acidic’ because he believes the volatile flavour molecules of the pair complement each other. Lamb with Pauillac (Bordeaux) is wrong because the volatile compound thymol is found in both thyme and lamb; in his view, Mediterranean wines with the aroma of wild herbs are more appropriate.33 Chartier and others seem to have had a real impact on French attitudes toward cheese, formerly (except for certain goat cheeses) the domaine, as Roland Barthes notes, of red wine. Chartier writes, ‘Does the pairing of tannic red wines and cheeses almost always leave you, as it leaves me, with a disagreeable bitter taste in your mouth? That’s normal! 353 White wines do much better [...].’34 Switching to white wine for a cheese course, which comes just before dessert in a traditional French meal, is increasingly accepted in French households (though still shocking to many) and now is a common recommendation of French sommeliers, breaking long-standing traditions about cheese as well as key rules of wine progression, which do not allow white wine after red except for sweet wines with dessert. At the same time, neurological research suggests a need for a healthy scepticism about the scientific bases for what are, at base, aesthetic judgements.35 Although generally more modern, this experimental approach, tied to rigorous analysis and never cavalier, was suggested by Brillat-Savarin in 1825: he occasionally mentions having a particular dish with a particular wine but doesn’t really comment on the relationship between the two. He makes an exception for faisan farci (stuffed pheasant): ‘Ce mets de haute saveur doit être arrosé, par préférence, de vin de cru de la haute Bourgogne; j’ai dégagé cette vérité d’une suite d’observations qui m’ont coûté plus de travail qu’une table de logarithmes.’ (These dishes of high flavour must be drunk with the best wines of Burgundy; I uncovered this truth from a series of observations which took more work than a table of logarithms.)36 Comments like this have led some to think of Brillat-Savarin as the father of wine pairings, but it seems to me that this claim is more an example of the wit reflected also in his story about a magistrate who was asked whether he preferred Bordeaux or Burgundy Food and Landscape and replied, ‘Madame, […] that is a trial in which I so thoroughly enjoy weighing the evidence that I always put off my verdict until the next week.’ Brillat-Savarin is a chronicler, not an inventor, for the most part, and through his notes we get a sense of how people ate and drank during his lifetime, but he does not set rules. While some of his comments fit a modern pattern (‘We drank à la française, which is to say that wine was served from the very beginning: it was a really good claret [Bordeaux]’ served with an ‘enormous’ roast beef and a turkey’), others seem unusual, such as the tuna omelette he suggests be consumed ‘thoughtfully and slowly’ with ‘a fine old wine’.37 Fourth, pairing the wine with the person rather than the dish. This turns out to have been the principal approach to wine pairing in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Medical advice, not gastronomic advice, was the norm. Red wine was too rough for women and aristocrats but provided useful nourishment to labourers.38 Louis XIV’s wines were selected by his physicians. As the king’s health was a matter of national concern, detailed records survive chronicling the long struggle between two of his doctors as to whether the king should continue to drink (still) Champagne or switch to older bottles of red Burgundy. The leading physicians of Paris, Reims, and Dijon engaged in extensive debates. Guy-Crescent Fagon, the doctor arguing for Burgundy, won the battle, became chief physician to the king, and the king began to drink aged, full-bodied Burgundy – a major blow to the Champagne region and a major boost to Burgundy, particularly after the court followed the king’s example.39 What foods might 354 marry, or even complement, the wine was not discussed. It is conceivable, however, that the preference for fuller-bodied red Burgundy wines, together with the king’s diet, may have helped to further the association of red wine and red meat. After the king died and France began to be ruled by the Regent, Philippe, duc d’Orléans, from the Palais Royal, a new fashion emerged that again did not relate to the qualities of the food: the new style of expensive, sparkling Champagne. Fashion dictated drinking it with everything. Did Thérèse, seemingly so contemporary in thinking a red Burgundy would clash with the oysters, really think sparkling Champagne intrinsically better, or, succumbing to fashion, would she have drunk Champagne with roast beef? From the passage quoted above, she appears to be making the point that the selection of the oysters was what made drinking the Burgundy impossible, so it is likely she is not merely a lover of Champagne. Medical advice pairing a person to a wine gradually disappeared, but as late as 1934, Escoffier, who made very few comments about wine in his books, advised in Ma cuisine, ‘Les vins jeunes contiennent trop d’acidité: les estomacs délicats et les vieillards doivent donc s’en abstenir ou les sucrer légèrement.’ (Young wines have too much acidity: those with delicate stomachs and the aged must avoid or lightly sweeten them.)40 One might think I should go on to say, Fifth, just drink what you like. But this ‘Le mariage entre mets et vins’ fifth category would be antithetical to French history and the patterns of rigour and categorizing that are at the heart of French culinary traditions. And it would seem dreadfully American. In any case, this would be in some sense a modern version of pairing to the person and not the dish. There are people who feel bonded to their particular favourite type of wine (‘I’ll have a glass of Chardonnay’) and feel it has no connection to the enjoyment of their food, nor do they feel they are missing an alchemical reaction or a third taste; but those people are not usually French. I have a worldly friend, a prominent American food critic revered in many countries, who told me, ‘I choose the wine I like, I drink water with the food and in between courses I drink my wine.’ This does evoke a time before wine and food were considered spouses. The Greeks and Romans did not take their wine with food. Even in the late eighteenth century, Thomas Jefferson, a serious early connoisseur of the then new style of dark and tannic Bordeaux wines, saved his best wines to have after his meal, without food. In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs, John Jay, Jefferson wrote about a dinner consisting of mutton drunk with (presumably sparkling) Champagne and Burgundy, with ‘Bourdeaux’ consumed ‘after dinner’.41 It seems worth noting that, for most people in France during the period when most modern styles of wine developed (mainly the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries), ‘drinking what you like’ simply meant drinking the local wine that was most available, and we are back once again to the landscape. A final mystery: the gradual emergence of drinking red wine with red meat. One 355 reason it is so difficult to determine the origin and history of what Roland Barthes proclaimed the ‘sanguinary mythology’ of red meat and red wine is that there was no clear event or process that created the association, which had a slow, winding path to the definitive position it had assumed by the time Barthes wrote in the 1950s. Perhaps the shift has been rarely written about because it was so gradual. Yet, simply because there was a gradual process does not mean the association remained weak. At the monumental new museum of wine in Bordeaux, La Cité du Vin, there is a small and clever virtual reality exhibit, intended to be light-hearted, where visitors can pair on screen up to ten dishes with ten wines and hear commentary on their choices in their language from a pre-recorded ‘sommelier’, who does not necessarily insist on a single correct answer but at times leaves no doubt that this subject involves right and wrong. If a visitor has the misfortune to pair rare beef with sweet Sauternes, he or she receives a scolding: ‘Oh, dear! I won’t give you the keys to the cellar!’ However, by contrast, through much of the nineteenth century, sweet wines had been acceptably drunk with everything – sweet Champagnes, sweet Constantia imported from South Africa (one of the only wines Napoléon, exiled to St. Helena, believed his stomach could handle). Somehow, this taste for sweet wines with savoury foods gradually disappeared. One aspect of the association of red meat with red wine has to do with the Eucharist, Food and Landscape implicit in Roland Barthes’s phrase, ‘sanguinary mythology’. Blood is red, but red wine was not red in the modern sense until Bordeaux began to produce the new French clarets during the eighteenth century – and Communion wine is often white. Red wine came to be formally associated with blood at events toward the end of the French Revolution, but this was a mythic connection, not a practical gastronomic tool.42 Both sides of this mythology have been often in flux: red wine was not always red and neither was red meat, because fashions in how thoroughly to cook meat come and go. Although, roughly speaking, eighteenth-century lists of dishes are likely to show roasts and game dishes clustered later in the meal at the point when the more assertive wines – principally red wines – would be appearing, there simply seems to be no overt discussion of drinking red wine with red meat. France’s first gastronomic chronicler, Grimod de La Reynière, insisted on white and red wine to be present at all meals and expressed no interest in what sort of wine to serve with what food.43 Eventually the menus and records of banquets begin to reveal the ascendency of red Burgundy and Bordeaux. By the end of the nineteenth century it becomes harder to find menus or descriptions of meals that do not match red wine with game and red meat.44 There is still no discussion of this association by any of the leading chroniclers of gastronomy before the 1930s, although it appears the rule was already in place and followed. Beginning in the 1930s, there are a few books giving advice on l’accord parfait … the perfect match. There is an inexhaustible supply of such books now, but even without them today in France the unwritten rule is essentially law. 356 Notes 1. Bernard Pivot, ‘Quel vin?’, in Bernard Pivot, Dictionnaire amoreux du vin (Paris: Éditions Plon, 2006). pp. 337-40. The earliest reference I have so far found suggesting a requirement that red meat combine with red wine is in Émile Zola’s novel, Le ventre de Paris (1873), in which a woman speaks of the expense of providing red meat and Bordeaux wine for her invalid husband. I expect there are many earlier references and would be delighted to hear from any readers who have suggestions. Fashion is a related area where devotees who understand the genre have strong feelings about what goes with what, and the synergies created by certain combinations of clothing, but where the rules are merely ‘understood’, and understood in different ways by different people, and rarely written down. 2. Gilbert Garrier, Histoire sociale et culturelle du vin, 2nd ed. (Paris: Larousse, 2008), p. 612. Green, for example, is a shading of the largely colourless wine we call white; blue is a deep purple that would be considered red today. In vogue today there are also light-coloured red wines known as rosé, the ‘yellow’ wines of the Jura, and an increasing vogue for ‘orange’ and ‘black’ wines. 3. Moreover, the ice Napoléon placed in his wine would not have been neutral in taste, having been stored for up to a year after being cut from glaciers – ice-making machines not having been developed (Jean- Robert Pitte, Dictionaire amoureux de la Bourgogne (Paris: Éditions Plon, 2015), pp. 186-87). 4. Thérèse philosophe ou mémoires pour servir à l’histoire du P. Dirrag et de Mlle Eradice (various editions, beginning in 1748). I thank the great historian of France, Robert Darnton, who told me about this pas- sage over oysters (with, as he recommended, Champagne) at dinner some years ago. He comments on this Enlightenment passage in Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France ‘Le mariage entre mets et vins’ (New York: Norton, 1995), p. 107; I quote Darnton’s translation, p. 251. ‘Philosophical’ in this context means that the book is a story of sex and metaphysics. 5. See Thomas Brennan, Burgundy to Champagne: The Wine Trade in Early Modern France (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997). 6. ‘Le bifteck et les frites’, in Mythologies (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1957), p. 72. (‘Le bifteck participe à la même mythologie sanguine que le vin […] et quiconque en prend, s’assimile la force taurine.’) 7. ‘Le vin et le lait’, in Mythologies, p. 71. (‘savoir boire est une technique nationale qui sert à qualifier le Français, à prouver à la fois son pouvoir de performance, son contrôle et sa sociabilité […] .l’absence de vin choque comme un exotisme.’) 8. I am not certain this is an authentic quotation but it is treated as such by people in France and included in lists of famous quotations. See, e.g., “Citations avec Dico-Citations’, Le Monde.fr <http://dicocita- tions.lemonde.fr/citations/citation-58682.php> [accessed 15 May 2017]. 9. See Robert Lowell’s description of carving at his home in Boston: ‘“I have always believed carving to be the gentlemanly talent,” mother used to proclaim’ (Life Studies & For the Union Dead (New York: The Noonday Press, 1956-64), p. 34). 10. See Rebecca Spang, The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000). 11. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, trans. by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (New York: Penguin, 2000), p. 35. 12. Letter to Madame Straus, end of June 1907, in Letters of Marcel Proust, trans. by Mina Curtiss (London: Chatto & Windus, 1950), letter no. 105. The sophisticated Geneviève Straus, née Halévy, the widow of the composer Georges Bizet, was a model for the Duchesse de Guermantes in À la recherche du temps perdu. 13. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. by Richard Nice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984), p.187. 14. Yes, wine was imported and exported over long distances even by the ancient Greeks and Romans, but French government statistics show that in France local consumption of local wine was at the heart of regional economies in most wine growing regions until the late twentieth century, with only 357 Champagne, Burgundy, and Bordeaux having significant export markets. And in those areas, known for their exports, the local wine was still the most consumed in the region itself. 15. At least this is the myth. As with all regional dishes, questions of origin and authenticity are subject to debate. 16. See Roger Dion, Histoire de la vigne et du vin en France des origins au XIXe siècle (Paris: Privately printed, 1959) and Marcel Lachiver, Vins, vignes et vignerons: Histoire du vignoble français (Bordeaux: Fayard, 1984). 17. Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Physiologie du goût (Paris: A. Sautelet, 1825), repr. The Physiology of Taste, trans. by M.F.K. Fisher (New York: Knopf, 1972), p. 382. Brillat-Savarin worked on this book for much of his long life and published it just before his death. 18. Olivier Bompas, Et avec ça, Qu’est-ce qu’on boit? 400 idées pour accorder parfaitement vos mets et vos bois- sons (Paris: Hachette, 2015), p. 9. 19. See, for example, Philippe Meyzie’s description of the contrast between the idea that the food of Southwestern France in the early nineteenth century fulfilled the medieval myth of the ‘pays de Cocagne’, a land of plenty (with, in this case, plenty of truffles), and the idea that the people were so deprived of food that they survived mainly by eating garlic (‘Construction et diffusion d’une image contrastée de la culture alimentaire régionale’, in La Table du Sud-Ouest et l’émergence des cuisines région- ales (1700-1850) (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes 2007), pp. 337-61). 20. Jean-François Mesplède, Trois étoiles au Michelin: Une histoire de la haute gastronomie française (Paris: Éditions Grund, 1998). Bill Buford has pointed out to me that Curnonsky, ‘prince élu des gastronomes’, needed Rouff in part because he did not drive. 21. ‘L’important, c’est que cette cuisine constitue nos racines communes, mystérieux patrimoine du goût enfoui dans notre inconscient collectif […]’ (Jacques Puisais, in Le goût juste des vins et des plats (Paris: Flammarion, 1985), p. 133). Food and Landscape 22. Pictured with a bottle of Chateau Angelus (St. Émilion), a blazing fire, and an evocative large piece of beef, in L’accord parfait (Paris: Éditions du Chéne, 1999), p. 11. ‘Dans l’exercice si difficile qu’est la recherche de l’alliance harmonieuse entre des mets et des vins, il ne faut pas être trop catégorique. Puisque personne ne distingue un médoc d’un saint-émilion dans une dégustation à l’aveugle, pourquoi imposer un médoc plutôt qu’un saint-émilion sur une côte de bœuf?’ 23. Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France (Paris: La Revue du Vin de France, 2017), pp. 102-05. 24. Jean-Louis Flandrin, L’Ordre des mets (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2002). 25. Jean-Pierre Poulain and Edmond Neirinck, Histoire de la cuisine et des cuisiniers: Techniques culinaires et pratiques de table, en France, du Moyen-Âge à nos jours (Paris: Éditions LT Jacques Lanore, 2004), pp. 71-79. 26. It is hard to overemphasize the importance of the development of wine bottles, for both still wines designed for aging and for the development of sparkling Champagne: see Jean-Robert Pitte, La Bouteille de Vin: Histoire d’une revolution (Paris: Tallandier, 2013). 27. Known as the Grande Larousse gastronomique for the two most recent editions. 28. Larousse gastronomique (Paris: Larousse 2012), p. 894. 29. ‘Des mets à la rencontre des vins’, L’Humanité, 18 December 2004. See also Alain Senderens, Le vin et la table (Paris: Éditions de La Revue du vin de France, 2000). 30. Puisais, p. 33. Bee Wilson describes Puisais’s more general food taste education classes in French pri- mary schools in the 1970s (First Bite: How We Learn to Eat (New York: Basic Books, 2015), p. 244). 31. Puisais, p. 7. 32. Patricia Wells, ‘Dining: Alain Senderens and the Triumph of the Wines’, New York Times, 22 November 2002 <http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/22/style/dining-alain-senderens-and-the-triumph-of-the- wines.html> [accessed 15 May 2017]. 33. François Chartier, Papilles et molécules: La science aromatique des aliments et des vins (Paris: Les Éditions La Presse, 2009), repr. Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine, and Flavor, trans. by Levi Reiss (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2012) , pp. 89-93. 34. Chartier, p. 114. 358 35. A recent book by Gordon Shepherd, a professor of neuroscience at the Yale School of Medicine, explores the science of tasting but concludes that the state of current science is not sufficient to rec- ommend what to pair with what (Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017)). 36. Brillat-Savarin, p. 375. I remember reading some decades ago, but have been unable to find my source, that Escoffier understood the magical effect the right wine could have with his food, and said that during his career in England when he served Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and the Prince complimented the wine, he knew he had cooked well. I would be grateful for any leads to this missing anecdote. 37. Brillat-Savarin, pp. 393, 353, 349. 38. Thomas Parker, Tasting French Terroir: The History of an Idea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015). 39. The primary source material as to the debates over Louis XIV’s health as regards wine have been pub- lished in Journal de santé de Louis XIV, ed. by Stanis Perez (Grenoble: Éditions Millon, 2004). Vivid descriptions of the controversy are found in Jean-Robert Pitte, Bordeaux Bourgogne: Les passions rivales (Paris: Hachette, 2005), pp. 63-72 and in Garrier. 40. Auguste Escoffier, Ma Cuisine (Paris: Ernest Flammarion, 1934), p. 692. Escoffier is often said to have codified, some would say ossified, French cooking at the beginning of the twentieth century in his comprehensive Le Guide Culinaire (four editions, 1902, 1907, 1912 and 1921). But it does not discuss wine or pairing. 41. John Hailman, Thomas Jefferson on Wine (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006), p. 85. 42. Garrier, p. 198. 43. Jean-Robert Pitte, Les accords mets-vins, un art français (Paris: CNRS-Éditions 2017), pp. 16-17. 44. See examples collected by Garrier, pp. 265-81. 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