Posts Tagged ‘Pairing’

As we approach Valentine’s Day, thoughts turn to wine and chocolate. Well, ok maybe we think of other things as well, but we do think about giving chocolates. Wouldn’t it be great to give chocolates and experience it with a wonderful wine?

Chocolate and wine, oh, so devine!

Chocolate and wine, oh, so devine!

Wine chocolate pairing is not easy. The general rule with all pairings is the wine should be sweeter than the food, and this applies to chocolate as well. Otherwise the taste will be sour and the finish will be unpleasant. We usually think of Champagne or a Red. But so does everyone else and it seems outdated. Plus the bubbles get in your nose and the red can really ruin the whole experience since there are more bad matches then good ones.

You can’t go wrong with a dessert wine or port with fruity flavors high with residule sugars. If you don’t like sweet wines, Cabernets are a great alternative because a lot of them have a hint of cocoa, along with blackberries and spices. Make sure you don’t grab an oakey Cabernet though as you will be disappointed. The oak doesn’t work well with the sweetness of the chocolate and makes a bad match.

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Also read:

What should you drink with Big Macs or pizza? An expert analyzes the basic flavor components of America’s favorite fast foods and suggests the perfect wines for each one.

 

Fast food and wine?

Fast food and wine?

At the end of my last trip to France, my cheap, no-brand rental car broke down on my way out of Paris, directly in front of a large—and hugely busy—McDonald’s. Fate, I felt, had finally poked its finger in my back. In the nearly 20 years I’d been traveling through Europe, I had managed never to set foot in a single fast-food restaurant. This wasn’t out of some highbrow pretense, mind you—when stateside, I visit my local White Castle so often they give me my change in shares of stock. It just seemed philosophically boneheaded to eat the same food over there that I could get back home. Yet there I was, stuck in front of that familiar yellow-and-red “billions and billions” sign. It was dinnertime and I was hungry. And I wasn’t going anywhere soon.

I walked through curtains of Gauloises smoke and up to the counter, where in my best 10th-grade French I requested: “Un Big Mac, un Royal avec fromage (a Quarter Pounder with Cheese), des frites,” and—because I couldn’t resist sampling what the corporate palates had chosen to complement their cuisine—a couple of tiny bottles of vin rouge et vin blanc.

I sat there for two hours, guiltily picking at the burgers and fries, swirling and sipping the wines from little plastic cups. I was, by the way, the only one swirling and sipping anything in that place—and for good reason. Both wines were mediocre at best and actually tasted worse with the food than alone. The burgers and fries were fine.

This experience taught me two very important lessons: It doesn’t pay to drive a low-rent voiture, and the French don’t know jack about matching wine with fast food.
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wine

A few months back, as I was ordering still another batch of cheese from Gina Freize of Venissimo to prepare for a small wine and cheese pairing event, I thought how helpful it would be have a wine and cheese pairing chart at my finger tips.  While I have a basic knowledge of fromage, it’s not at all uncommon that I seek advice from Gina or other resources.  So I turned to Gina for suggestions and expertise and she turned me one to her wine and cheese pairing “wheel,” displayed at the bottom of this post.  This schematic is a great place to start in experimenting with pairings whether you be a novice or a more advanced cheese lover.

The approach behind creating a delicious wine and cheese match is no different than pairing wine with any food.  In the end, the goal is for both to work… read on

Click to to download a PDF of the Venissimo Wine and Cheese Pairing Wheel.

Click on image to enlarge!

Pair me with ...

Pair me with …

 

Learn how to pair sparkling wine with this guide from Eric Guido

 

I never gave sparkling wine a fair shake (no pun intended). Like most people, my first exposures to sparkling wines were New Year’s Eve parties as a kid. Sooner or later, someone would put a glass of Champagne in my hand. I’d take a sip and think about it for a moment, only to decide that I didn’t understand. Usually it was too bubbly, acidic and smelled more like a loaf of bread than a glass of wine. Fast forward to adolescence and the first time I decided to indulge a little more with the bubbly, along with the hangover that I experienced the following day. I didn’t understand this sparkling wine “thing.”

The fact was, I was probably drinking swill. To make matters worse, I didn’t understand the art of moderation. However, these experiences marked me and my opinion of sparkling wine for… read on