How do you know which wines to pair with food? Who would like a glass of milk with a pizza? asks chef Jeffrey Saad in the Food & Wine Pairing Seminar (who, btw blogs on WordPress.com using this theme!)
Insane pairings–sauterne and foie gras; marcona almonds and olorosa sherry.
Take a bite and sip, taste the food taste the wine, back and forth and see what happens.
Here’s some general ideas: try them out then go off the beaten path to new discoveries.
It’s easier to match wines with flavors.
ACIDS So a salad has lots of acid so the wine needs to too. Red meat sauces work so well with sangiovese because they both have a lot of acidity. Match fats with acids so the acid cuts through the acid.
TANNINS Match tannins with meat fat or protein.
SWEET Match sweet with sweet. The wine has to be at least as sweet or sweeter than the dessert.
SPICE Match sweet with spice. The hotter the spice, the greater the sweet so that the sweet tames the heat of the spice and the spice brings out more flavors in the wine. AVOID tannic wines (like a cab) with spice because it makes it even hotter.
CHEESE & WINE Aged cheeses work with red wine or some creamy. Most cheeses work better with something a little sweet. Nuts and tannins don’t work.
GEOGRAPHY Match wine with the region of the food.
Some wines have a bad rep for the types of enzymes in the food that interact poorly with wines, for example artichokes, asparagus, a lot of green vegies. Make funky ingredients a part of the dish, and pair with similar flavors like a sauv blanc.
Which wines are no brainers? Safe bets?
1. Dry Rose–enough acidity and fruit to match up with a variety of proteins
2. Champagne– goes with everything–plenty of acidity to go with food, low alcohol so it doesn’t get in the way of salts in the food, off dry, just a touch of sweetness. How about a champagne tasting dinner? YES! Gonna have to do this–have fun!
3. Barbera–goes with just about everything which could explain why at the first WBC Sebastiani chose barbera as the red wine they served.
Outside the room, the hotel is setting up a pairing of wines with foods designed by Chef Bear of the Marcus Whitman Hotel. And I am NOT going to try to blog about it while I’m tasting!