Who would ever eat a good steak without a glass bottle of a good red wine? Not I. I prefer an earthy Pinot Noir, but a Cab or a Zin will do just fine.
Gastronomes and chefs know that certain foods pair well together. But why?
Science now knows.
Drinks such as wine and tea and foods like pickles and sorbets are astringent, and they "elicit ‘dry, rough’ sensations, in part, by breaking down mucinous lubricating proteins in saliva." Steak and other fatty foods lubricate the mouth that lessens the astringent feelings. The recent work* shows that "oral fatty sensations and astringency represent opposite ends of an oral spectrum extending from ‘slippery’ at one end to ‘dry’ and ‘rough’ at the other. This provides an explanation of how these sensations interplay over the course of a meal and maintain the balance of a moderate position along a tribological scale of oral sensations." In other words, the alternating bites of a rib eye with sips of red wine leaves the mouth with a nice feeling.
*Opponency of astringent and fat sensations, Catherine Peyrot des Gachons, Emi Mura, Camille Speziale, Charlotte J. Favreau, Guillaume F. Dubreuil, and Paul A.S. Breslin, Current Biology, Vol. 22, No. 19, R830 (2012).