Wine & Food Pairing Tip: Aged & White Wine

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

When the wine is aged and white:

* Serve with dishes that feature similar flavors (nuts, sherry and dried fruits) to mirror the flavor profile.

* Compensate for the lost acidity in the mature wine with acidity in the dish (a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar).

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Wine & Food Pairing Tip: Aged & Red Wine

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

 

When the wine is aged and red:

* Serve rare preparations of meats to fill in the flavor gaps left by the drying out of the youthful fruit that occurs as the wine develops in the bottle.

* Remember that because tannins soften over time, an aged red gives you a broader range of food options than a tannic young wine.

* Remember that wines become more delicate as they age; choose simpler preparations to show them off rather than make them compete with complex recipes.

Wine & Food Pairing Tip: Oaky Wine

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

When the wine is oaky:

* Accompany them with bold recipes, because really oaky wines will always seem “bigger” with food.

* Play up the oak through the choice of ingredients (include nuts or sweet spices) or cooking methods (lightly grilling or smoking).

* Remember that oak aging adds rich texture that can be nice with rich and textured sauces and dishes.

Wine & Food Pairing Tip: Tannic Wines

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

When the wine is tannic:

* Counterbalance the tannins by serving foods that are high in protein, fat or both.

* Remember that an entrée relatively low in protein or fat may make the wine appear more tannic.

* Remember that tannin and spicy heat can clash!

* Use pepper (cracked black or white) to counterbalance the tannins, as it is somewhat bitter by nature.

* Serve foods that are bitter (eggplant, zucchini, chard, endive, broccoli rabe, etc.) or prepare ingredients in a way that accentuates bitterness (blackening, cooking over a wood fire, or grilling) to achieve taste symmetry.

Ginger & Orange Fried Chicken

I have been on an Asian food kick recently, but taking the easy way out by partaking in mostly carry out varieties.  When I found this recipe, it persuaded me to attempt some recipes at home.

This recipe would pair well with a bright, fruit-forward New-World style Viognier.

Ginger & Orange Fried Chicken

12 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 cups buttermilk

3 tablespoons grated orange zest

2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger

Salt and freshly ground black peper

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Small pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Canola oil for frying

* Cut away the tendons from the chicken breasts and discard.

* Lightly pound the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap to a uniform thickness.

* In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk with the orange zest and fresh ginger and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.  (Buttermilk and ginger have a tenderizing effect, so be careful not to marinate the chicken too long or it will become mushy).

* Combine the flour, curry powder, ground ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cayenne pepper in a large bowl or paper bag.

* In a large, deep frying pan or skillet, pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches and heat to 365 degrees.

* Remove the chicken breasts from the buttermilk and shake off the excess liquid.  One at a time, dredge the pieces in the seasoned flour or place them in the paper bag and shake them to coat.

* Fry until golden brown, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes per side.  If the chicken is browning too quickly, lower the heat.  Transfer the fried chicken to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Serve warm.

Ginger shows well with Viognier and this is a great example of that pairing.  The fruit-forward wine has enough acidity to counter the richness of deep frying and the salt.

Recommended Viognier Producers:

Everyday: Callaway Coastal (multiple appellations, California), Pepperwood Grove (multiple appellations, California), Cline (Sonoma County, California)

Premium: Stags’ Leap Winery (Napa Valley, California), Sobon Estate (Sierra Foothills, California), Kunde (Sonoma County, California)

Splurge: Newton (Napa Valley, California), Joseph Phelps (Napa Valley, California), Cold Heaven (Southern Central Coast, California)

Wine & Food Pairing Tip: High Alcohol Wine

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

When the wine has a high alcohol content:

* Make sure that the dish being served is ample in personality and weight, or it will be overwhelmed.

* Don’t serve very spicy-hot food!

* Remember that food will make the wine appear even hotter.

* Avoid excessive salt, which will exaggerate your perception of the wine’s heat/alcohol.

Tasting Exercise: Acidity

I read a wonderful article in Food and Wine Magazine last Autumn about different tasting procedures you can go through to help yourself understand the different properties of wine tasting.  I wanted to save these exercises and the wines used to go through them with friends in the future.  I think this would make a fun little educational wine gathering!

Acidity

Natural acids, including tartaric and malic, cause the acidity in wine.  The acids can derive from the actual grapes themselves or the acids added during the wine making process.  The acidity in grapes varies greatly, depending on many different factors including the grape variety, sun exposure, climate and soil in the vineyard.  Grapes grown in cooler climates tend to have higher acidity.

While enjoying wine, you will feel the effects of acidity mostly on the sides of your tongue.  Overly acidic wines will cause an almost stinging sensation or sour taste in the mouth.  I pay attention to how much saliva my mouth produces after tasting a wine.  The more saliva produced, the more acidity in the wine.

Food Pairing

When enjoying foods high in fat, like alfredo sauce, the fat typically coats the palate and stifles the flavor of subsequent bites.  In these situations, the acid in the wine cuts through the fat lingering on the palate.  This effectively prepares your mouth to be able to fully indulge in the next delectable bite.

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Tasting Exercise

Equipment: Five 4 ounce glasses of water, one orange, one grapefruit, one lemon, one lime

Set aside the first glass of water.  Squeeze the juice of 1/4 orange into the second glass.  Squeeze the juice of 1/4 grapefruit into the third glass. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon into the fourth glass.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime into the fifth glass.

Taste in that order, starting with a sip of plain water, to experience increasing levels of acidity. Experiment by adding more juice to each glass to see how the acidity increases.  Notice the point at which the juice becomes too sour for you.

Wines

The following wines will help illustrate the concept of acidity.  A type of wine is listed, followed by a specific vintage and brand that would work well. Each are listed in order from least to most acidic.

* Marsanne (2011 Qupe)

* Sauvignon Blanc (2011 Brander Santa Ynez Valley)

* Muscadet (2011 Michel Delhommeau Cuvee St. Vincent)

The wines in parenthesis were not necessarily the wines I found and used when first doing this experiment. They are wines suggested in Food and Wine Magazine. I used the ones I could find locally and if I could not find the specific brand they recommended or didn’t have the budget for the one they recommended, I used one that fit their category. I did these exercises before starting this blog so I did not record each brand and vintage I used.

Tasting Exercise: Tannins

I read a wonderful article in Food and Wine Magazine last Autumn about different tasting procedures you can go through to help yourself understand the different properties of wine tasting.  I wanted to save these exercises and the wines used to go through them with friends in the future.

Tannins

Tannins are found in grape skins, seeds and stems.  They contribute to the wine’s structure, complexity, texture and ability to age.  They are most prevalent in red wines.

Tannins create a drying and somewhat bitter sensation in your mouth, typically toward the back of the tongue.

Food Pairing

Tannic wines pair especially well with rich foods and substantial meat dishes because they cut through fat.  Fat also softens the perception of tannin.

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Tasting Exercise

Equipment: 3 mugs, 3 black tea bags, hot water

Pour 8 ounces of hot water and one tea bag into each mug.  After 2 minutes, remove the bag from the first mug. After 4 minutes, remove the bag from the second mug. After 8 minutes, remove the bag from the third mug.  Let the tea cool.

Taste the teas in increasing steep time order, swishing the liquid around in your mouth before swallowing.  Notice how the teas are more astringent as the steeping time increases.

Wines

The following wines will help illustrate the concept of tannin.  A type of wine is listed, followed by a specific vintage and brand that would work well. Each are listed in order from least to most tannic.

* Beaujolais (2010 Potel Aviron Cote de Brouilly)

* California Merlot (2009 Simi Sonoma County Merlot)

* Bordeaux (2010 Chateau Bellevue Bordeaux Superieur)

The wines in parenthesis were not necessarily the wines I found and used when first doing this experiment. They are wines suggested in Food and Wine Magazine. I used the ones I could find locally and if I could not find the specific brand they recommended or didn’t have the budget for the one they recommended, I used one that fit their category. I did these exercises before starting this blog so unfortunately I did not record each brand and vintage I used.

Other Tasting Exercises

Body

Tasting Exercise: Body

I read a wonderful article in Food and Wine Magazine last Autumn about different tasting procedures you can go through to help yourself understand the different properties of wine tasting. I found the exercises to be extremely insightful and it was easier for me to remember these properties after physically testing them myself.  I wanted to save these exercises and the wines used and recommended to be able to go through them with friends in the future. I think this would make a fun little educational wine gathering!

Body

Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson defines body as “the sense of weight or richness or heaviness, or even the feeling of viscosity that a wine leaves in your mouth.”

I have often used the analogy of comparing the body of wine to the difference in thickness with milk.  Skim milk is thinner and doesn’t have the richness of 2% milk, and that thickness/richness of milk grows as it reaches whole milk.  A light bodied wine would be comparable to the skim milk while the fuller bodied wines are comparable to whole milk.

Typically, if a wine has a higher alcohol content it will have more body.  Often times wines from warmer climates, which produce grapes with more sugar (that eventually turns into alcohol), tend to have more body.  Other factors in determining the body of a wine include sugar, oak and the concentration.

Food Pairings

One of the most common wine and food pairing tips is to pair white meat with white wine and red meat with red wine.  This concept refers to one of the most commonly used approaches when pairing food and wine: choosing wine based on its body.

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Tasting Exercise

Equipment:  4 glasses, 1/4 cup each of skim milk, 2% milk, whole milk and heavy cream

Begin with the skim milk and taste in the order of richness until the heavy cream.  Pay attention to the texture of each variation on your tongue and the sensation in your mouth.  The skim milk should dissipate quickly, which the cream will coat your tongue.

Wines

The following wines will help illustrate the concept of body.  A type of wine is listed, followed by a specific vintage and brand that would work well. Each are listed in order from least to most full-bodied.

Whites

* Northern Italian Pinot Grigio (2011 Tiefenbrunner)

* New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (2011 Kim Crawford Marlborough)

* White Burgundy (2010 Domaine Faiveley Bourgogne Blanc)

* Barrel-fermented Chardonnay (2010 Rodney Strong Sonoma County)

Reds

* Valpolicella (2011 Tedeschi Lucchine)

* California Pinot Noir (2010 Dutton Goldfield Azaya Ranch Vineyard)

* Chianti Classico (2009 La Maialina)

* Zinfandel (2010 Ridge East Bench)

The wines in parenthesis were not necessarily the wines I found and used when first doing this experiment. They are wines suggested in Food and Wine Magazine. I used the ones I could find locally and if I could not find the specific brand they recommended or didn’t have the budget for the one they recommended, I used one that fit their category. I did these exercises before starting this blog so I did not record each brand and vintage I used.