Monday, May 14, 2012

Five Tips for Wine Pairing

One of my ultimate goals in blogging and creating videos is to give everyday people - and by everyday people, I'm talking about you and me - an opportunity to experience the finer things life has to offer; whether that be through decor, tablescaping, or creating restaurant quality meals on real world budgets like last month's amazing recipe for Bacon and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Bundles.

Oh so good!

With that being said, today I wanted to continue last week's "Monday Meet the Experts" discussion about wine because learning how to appreciate the grappa doesn't make you pretentious - it makes your journey with food and dining a little more interesting!

Can I get an allegria?

Here are five tips to get started pairing wine with food - please let me know if you have any others to add in the comments section of the blog!

1. Start your own personal wine journal. It's actually lots of fun when you get into it! Record the wines you've tried for future reference along with notes about what you enjoyed or didn't enjoy. What regions, varietals, flavours do you gravitate toward? And now begin thinking about how these flavours will pair with your favourite dishes.

2. Experiment to enhance your palette. Research the wines recommended to pair with certain dishes and try them for yourself. Take notes. What did you enjoy? Did the wine enhance the food you were eating? If you could change something about the flavour combination, what would it be?

Now's your chance to be a wine critic so don't be afraid to judge - after all, it's only you making these recommendations - and if you hit on a wine you really enjoy, take a picture of the label and record the notes next to the picture in your wine journal.

3. Think in terms of richness and heaviness when pairing wines. For example, a venison steak with a blueberry balsamic reduction would pair well with a heavier wine like a Cabernet Sauvingnon or a Pinot Noir. In general, the richer the dish the higher the wine's acid should be. In practical terms, it's why a zingy Gruner Veltliner works with fish and chips, the freshness of Chianti or Valipolicella marries with cheesy pizza, and crisp Chablis goes perfectly with a rich morsel of lobster dunked in beurre blanc.

4. With desserts, make sure the wine is sweeter than the dish. As an aside, although Richard Gere made the whole champagne and strawberries thing so romantic in Pretty Woman, in reality the sweetness of the strawberries will affect the champagne on your palette. Think battery acid. Enough said.

5. Drink what you enjoy. The experts may say one thing but at the end of the day, you're the one doing the drinking so pair your wines in ways that suit your own palette.

Here's a fun game to play at your next dinner party to get to know what you enjoy: the blind taste test! Take three bottles of the same type of wine, one inexpensive, one middle of the road, and one expensive and put each in a paper bag. Have your guests rate each wine according to what they like best. It's lots of fun to see what the winning wine will be because, quite often, it's not the expensive one!

And that's the blog.

Please enjoy today's featured recipe for an easy and delicious quick bread that goes perfectly with just about any wines you might be serving!

Olive Bread with Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Cheese
For printable recipe click HERE

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  1. Great advice Lyndsay--only now I'm hungry for lobster, bacon stuffed chicken and olive bread and it's 7:04am! xo

  2. Thanks for these tips Lyndsay - I feel like a bit of a wine moron so this really helps! :)

    1. Awesome :-)Thanks for letting me know!