There's One Ingredient In Artichokes That Makes Wine Taste Awful

In most cases, drinking a glass of wine with your dinner seems to just make your meal taste better. In fact, there are sommeliers who can identify the perfect glass of vino to pair with everything from pumpkin desserts to creamy pasta sauce. And yet, there are some foods that can actually make wine taste worse. So before you dish out your dough for a fancy bottle, remember to stay away from consuming artichokes in the same meal.

According to Science Magazine, artichokes contain an acid called cynarin, which alters your tongue to make foods taste sweeter than they really are. Cynarin accomplishes this by attaching itself to and quelling the sweet receptors on your tongue. But the effect only lasts for one bite, so when you go to eat (or drink) something else afterward, your tastebuds register an overload of sweetness as the receptors are open for business once again. This can create a pleasant effect if you drink water after eating an artichoke, for example, but not so much if you're trying to enjoy a glass of wine. Your vino will either taste overly sweet and one-note, or it will have a bizarre metallic flavor.

How to try pairing wine with artichokes

If you're willing to be a little risky, and if the thought of enjoying an artichoke without a delicious glass of wine is too much to bear, you may have luck with certain pairings. Avoid sweet and dessert wines (like Moscato or certain White Zinfandels), as we know the cynarin will only make them taste even sweeter. You'll also want to stay away from vino aged in wood (such as Cabernets or Chardonnay) because artichokes can significantly alter the way you taste them.

So which bottles should you go for? Opt for types of wine where a little extra sweetness wouldn't be unwelcome, meaning crisp, dry, acidic varieties. Try experimenting with an ultra-dry Sauvignon Blanc, rosé, or cava. Luckily, finding a tasty pairing gets a little easier when you're eating a savory dish that contains artichokes, as opposed to snacking on the food by itself. So if you're determined to find a way to beat cynarin, you may want to start out by eating cheese ravioli with lemon-artichoke sauce, slow cooker spinach and artichoke dip, or a similar dish where the veggies' flavor is smothered in rich ingredients. Just be prepared for your wine to taste a hint sweeter than it normally would, and you'll go into your meal with the right expectations.