Friday, September 03, 2004

The continuing absurdity of food and wine pairing

Another great article by Carol Emert at the SF chronicle reminded me of yet another wine-related pet peeve, wine and food pairings:

While I appreciate that wine & food writers need things to write about, and that food pairings are a good fallback, the sheer lack of imagination and rampant traditionalism is galling. Yes, we all love red wine with steak, that's like apple pie and baseball, but the problem is that these notions only contribute to consumer's confusion and reinforce wine’s reputation as a beverage with a steep learning curve….."am I supposed to have Chardonnay with this or Sauvignon Blanc? Maybe I'll just have iced tea". The result is that more people are intimidated and shy away from the beverage.

No need to be confused, no need to memorize the "proper" pairings. People, drink what you like! If you don't like white wine, then go ahead an order that Pinot with your fish. Chances are they’'l taste great anyway and you won’t have to go "wineless". Robert Mondavi has long advocated that people simply "drink what they like and like what they drink". Don't make it complicated, don't worry what your waiter thinks, order what you like!

Last week, Mrs. Johnson and I were eating at a hoity-toity wine country bistro and I ordered a bottle of Ferrari-Carano Sauvignon Blanc with my steak (it was hot, we were eating outside, and red just didn’t sound good). How was it? It was fabulous, once I squeezed a little lemon on the steak. It balanced the acidity of the wine and made it taste great, even with the SB. I simply ignored the shocked onlookers at the adjacent tables.

Speaking of lemons, there are those who believe that any food can be paired with any wine so long as you balance your food by adding the right amount of lemon and salt. Google Umami for more information and DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE!


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