What wines to pair with high-umami foods?

Pasta is pretty easy to pair with wine; any starch is. It’s what’s on top that matters to the match. This dish sports cooked-down mushrooms, which contain a lot of the “fifth” taste called umami (a savory, salivating taste first isolated by the Japanese). Other high-umami foods: Parmigiano-Reggiano, ripe tomatoes, bacon, soy sauce, scallops and cured meat. When pairing wine with such foods, be sure to avoid those high in tannin; the wine’s bitterness or astringency will be uncomfortably accentuated. Instead, go for wines that are low in alcohol, crisply acidic and slightly sweet. Who loves your umami? Sugar, baby.

The food: Angel Hair Pasta with Mushrooms and Tarragon

Cook 1/4 pound angel hair pasta in plenty of well-salted boiling water. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 large shallot, chopped, and 1 clove garlic, minced; cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 4 ounces assorted mushrooms, chopped; 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved; 1/3 cup pine nuts; 1/4 cup white wine; 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms are done, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried; cook, about 1 minute. Drain pasta; toss with sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan. Makes: 2 servings

Recipe by Renee Enna

The wines

2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Riesling "Eroica," Columbia Valley, Washington: This never-fail, just off-dry riesling, with its zesty acidity and yellow stone fruit aromas and flavors, is a terrific value, too. $15-$20

2013 Yalumba Viognier, Eden Valley, South Australia: From Australia's premier producer of viognier comes this richly textured but tangy and juicy white, full of tastes of apricot and pear, and a lingering finish. $15-$30

2012 Maquis Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Moderately alcoholic and less tannic than many a cabernet (from any country), this is smooth, aromatic and finishes crisply, unusual for a rich red. $17-$20