‘CLASS #1 – 2012’
One of many in a series of immersing oneself in the wine universe….Enjoy your voyage!
~Pairing ‘basics’ and helpful hints to demystify the whimsical and joyful art of matching food and wine~
First and foremost, wine is an absolutely beautiful experience meant to be enjoyed with family, friends, a cozy fireplace, a memorable meal, a very special loved one, or even solitary soul searching. It creates memories….In saying this, no matter what I, or other experts may tell you, please sip on your grape or meritage of choice with or without any edible of your liking….Yet, found below are perfect pairings of a technical sort. Savor each sip…. and remember – wine is a world all its own. It is fun, creative, and simply poetic in every way. These tips are meant to be helpful but certainly not rigid. Allow yourself to color outside of its boundaries!
IN ORDER OF PERFECTION
- White before Red
- Dry before Sweet
- Light before Fuller-Bodied
- And in ascending order of quality
GUIDELINES TO ‘SIP BY’
- What type of wine do ‘I’ enjoy?
- What is the texture of the food that I am going to be eating?
- What is the preparation of the food?- (hint—fail-safe choice would be roast chicken as it acts as a perfect pairing for almost any wine style-light, medium, or full-bodied)
- What type of sauce (if applicable)?- (Ex-cream-based with heavier Chardonnay, tomato-based sauce with approachable red)
FURTHER FOOD AND WINE SYNERGY
- Dominant taste in the food and choose a wine to accompany it- (Ex- ‘lemon’ pepper chicken pairs well with any ‘citrus’ nuanced wine or lighter red; rosemary spiced loin of lamb or pork would pair very well with any ‘gamey’ or ‘herbal’ nuanced red such as Pinot Noir or Merlot)
- Match the ‘weight’ of the food with the ‘weight’ of the wine- (Lighter cuisine with lighter wines and fuller flavors with fuller-bodied wines; delicate dished can be overpowered by powerful wines and vice versa)
- Sweeter/Spicier food with sweeter/spicier wines- (Think Thai or Asian fare with an off-dry Riesling or a Gewürztraminer)
- If serving top quality wines then attempt to pair the food to the wine rather than vice versa…Let the wine be the star.
- Finally, and probably the most helpful, match regional dishes with the same region’s wines. (There is a reason why Italian Chianti is simply divine with Pasta and Red Sauce)
‘BASIC’ PERFECT PAIRINGS
- Creamy Chowder with Basic Chardonnay
- Lobster with a high-end White Burgundy
- Sole, Flounder, or Clams with Chablis, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc
- Scallops, Snapper, or Shrimp with Sancerre or Chardonnay
- Barbecued Salmon with Pinot Noir or Syrah
- Fresh Tuna (depending on preparation) with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec, or Italian Red Blend
- Turkey, Stuffing, and Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Syrah, or Merlot
- Pork Spare Ribs or Belly with Shiraz or Red Zinfandel
- Hamburgers with Red Zinfandel, Shiraz, or California Syrah
- Duck, Swordfish, or Salmon with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Viognier
- Lamb Chops with Red Rioja, Chianti, Merlot, or New World Cabernet
- Veal Chops with Barbera, Chianti, Red Zinfandel, or Merlot
Classic International Pairings
- Red Sauce with Red wine
- Spiced Thai food with off-dry White
- Foie Gras with Sauternes
- Indian food with Chardonnay
- Chicken with Chardonnay
- Fatty red meats with powerful Cabernet Sauvignon
- Blue Cheese with Sauternes
- Goat’s Cheese with Sauvignon Blanc
- Parmesan with Italian Reds particularly Sangiovese
OTHER TIDBITS OF NOTE…..
- Chardonnay is, in many instances, a red wine masquerading as a white….For this reason, please indulge in this elegant, full-bodied, and superb white with lighter pork dishes, strong, fuller-bodied fish such as Swordfish or Bluefish, or even duck, and sirloin steak. Conversely, Pinot Noir is just the opposite, a white wine masquerading as a red wine. Therefore, sip on this lovely, versatile, and silky red with light salads, pastas with poultry or vegetables, veal chops, and many game dishes.
- Have a passion for spice? Enjoy a lighter ‘off-dry’ wine to balance the heat such as Riesling or even Chenin Blanc.
- Indecisive? Choose a ‘user-friendly’ or very ‘approachable’ wine such as Pinot Grigio, Chablis, light Pinot Noir, German Riesling, or Chianti Classico to accompany most any cuisine or group of diners.
- As an aperitif always tries to choose a light ‘wet’ your appetite type of wine. Acidity creates hunger….makes your mouth water and then triggers your tummy to want something more…In other words, a fantastic starting wine per se, would be Champagne, Pinot Grigio, Dry Riesling, unoaked Semillon, or even a dry Sherry.
Analogy to keep in mind ~~ Imagine an ooey gooey piece of warm chocolate cake and that first amazing moment that it touches your lips. Now, imagine that bite being followed by a cold glorious sip of milk. That is the harmonious marriage of a mesmerizing food pairing…….Now imagine the possibilities found in the above knowledge. I can feel your excitement! Bissful sipping everyone………