The Grapevine

Food and Wine Pairing – A Better Approach

July 26th, 2013

Rather than an actual pairing recommendation this week, here’s a link to a great old article about food and wine pairing. It’s a great discussion of the whole rules (reds with meat, etc.) vs. “drink what you want” camps, and whether once side or the other does more damage by creating confusion among less knowledgeable wine drinkers. [level-members]

Over the years, it seems that 1winedude has had a change of heart about food and wine pairings. A couple of them, actually. I completely agree with his assertion that an inspired food/wine pairing can elevate even unexciting wines to something near greatness. (Though it’s not the wine that becomes great, but the food/wine experience as a whole.)

I also like his idea that no matter your approach, there are some rules you should follow. As a colleague of his says, “If on a hot day, you pour a great big Cabernet with some Dover sole, then I just can’t help you.”

Even better is his rule #2: “Start with textures, weight/body, and flavors that you like (in wine OR food) and then focus on juxtaposing and combining those same things between the chow and the vino.”

Rather than sticking with rules (which may make things easy but lead to a lot of boring combinations) or throwing those rules out altogether (which leads to some disastrous combinations) this approach encourages exploration at a comfortable pace and creates the opportunity for that truly thrilling moment when you come up with a fantastic pairing on your own.

Still, there are those customers who don’t have any interest in exploring and just want something reliable. Indulge them and you’ll have fans for life. For everyone else, though, encourage exploration as you guide them to choices that fit their style, whether sensible or devil-may-care. [/level-members]