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Re-examining Food and Wine Pairings

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Addressing tried and true Wine Pairing Rules

Grilled Fish with Tomato Relish

Grilled Fish with Tomato Relish

This is part of 2 of my 3-part series on taking a hard look at common food and wine pairings.

You may read Part 1 – 5 Food and Wine Pairing Tips – Are They Still Relevant?

3. The wine and food must come from the same geographic region.

  • Wrong!  It may seem likely that an Albariño from Spain would make an excellent dining companion to a seafood dish.   But nowadays, it’s important to understand a wine region’s strengths or tendencies more than automatically assuming all foods of the region are suitable for pairing with its wine.  Spain and Italy have started making more wines using international grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. And, they do them well.

    Exotic Herbs and Spices

    Exotic Herbs and Spices

  • With the rise in popularity of household-name chef superstars, these top chefs are constantly looking for ways to keep fans tuning in.  There are a host of new and  unusual cooking styles and techniques like molecular gastronomy.
  • A common meal like meat and potatoes has been turned into a complex culinary creation with an array of flavors that includes multi-ingredient sauces and rubs with exotic herbs.  But a chicken dish with a crimini and chantrelle mushroom sauce could stand up to a Gamay (red) wine because it too, is light in weight.

    Earthy Mushrooms

    Earthy Mushrooms & Gamay

4. You should not try to pair difficult foods such as artichokes, asparagus, quiche and eggs or vinegar

  • Wrong! Today’s chefs take ingredient mixing to a new level.  Try focusing on weight. Not yours, the food’s. If you are having a salad starter, then a Pinot Blanc will typically stand up nicely to a vinegar-based dressing.  The acidity of this crisp white can handle the tartness of the vinegar.
Grilled Corn with Compound Butter

Grilled Corn with Compound Butter

  • The number of vegetarians in society has increased dramatically.  In addition, many people try to incorporate a vegetarian lifestyle into their weekly or monthly meal planning.  An ear of corn can be a complex pairing if it has been grilled and then slathered with a chive and rosemary compound butter.

In the last part of this series on examining food and wine pairing adages, I’ll discuss food complements. Yes, you like me. You really, really like me.  Apologies to Sally Field and Mrs. Dice, my 7th grade English teacher.

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