ABBY NASH: In this section, I've got the answers to one of the questions I get asked most frequently, which is which wine should I drink with.
Answer number one is drink what you like. Forget what anyone tells you to drink and do as you please. Answer number two comes from one of our best guest speakers here at the Hotel School, Craig Goldwin. There should be no rules in the kitchen or bedroom.
But that's not what many people want to hear. They want me to tell them what to drink. Well, since I'm a compulsive advice giver, here's answer number three.
I don't like rules in general, but here are a few applying to food and wine pairing that work much more often than they don't. Food and wine should not detract from each other. For example, a big, tannic Cabernet Sauvignon would overwhelm a subtle dish like flounder.
Consider the main components of food and wine. Is the dish dominated by butter and cream or acidity, like lemon? Is the dish rich or subtle? Is it fatty? Is the wine tannic, acidic, big, sweet, or mature?
Consider both complimentary and contrasting pairings. An example of a complimentary pairing is an oily fish like salmon in a creamy, buttery sauce with a rich, buttery chardonnay or white burgundy. A contrasting pairing would be the same dish and a wine like Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, or Chenin blanc. The acidic nature of these wines would balance the richness of the food.
Intensity of flavors is another basic pairing consideration. To match the weight or intensity of food to the weight of the wine, an example would be a big, intense, rich beef dish with a big California Cabernet Sauvignon. And that buttery salmon with a rich chardonnay, of course, is another complimentary pairing.
Saucing is as important as the center of the plate ingredient. Veal scallopini with wild mushrooms pairs with different wines are the same ingredient with a lemon and caper piccata sauce. This is especially true of [INAUDIBLE] the plate items, like veal, chicken, and turkey.
A few more recommendations. Tannic wines cut the fat. Red Bordeaux and lamb is a classic. High alcohol wines, like California chardonnay, become hotter with spicy and salty foods. A better choice would be something like Riesling.
The cheese course-- in multi-course, multi-wine menus, traditionally, the oldest red wine is served with the cheese after the main courses. But consider a younger red wine or even white wine that would balance the fatty cheese with tannin and/or acidity. Dishes with cheese as a primary ingredient pair well with young red wines with some tannin, like young Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas from the Rhone.
Complex dishes with many flavors call for younger, simpler wines. This lets the food take center stage instead of fighting the wine. Likewise, when serving complex pedigreed wines, like top-quality aged Bordeaux, let the wine shine with simple, elegant dishes made from top quality ingredients in basic sauces, such as a rare roast beef or game.
Try lighter meats like chicken, turkey, veal, rabbit, farmed pheasant with medium to full-bodied white wines like Gewurztraminer, Gruner Veltliner, and Chardonnay, or light to medium-bodied red wines, like Barbera, Zinfandel, and Cotes-du-Rhone. Red meats, especially simply prepared lamb, beef, and venison, have the intensity to pair with tannic young red wines, like Northern Rhones and Chianti Reserva.
Meat stews and other long-cooked dishes have subtle flavors echoed in older wines, like aged Bordeaux and Rioja. Mushrooms-- especially exotic varieties-- have earthy flavors that pair well with older wines, known for similar flavors, like red burgundy and Nebbiolos.
Vegetable dishes pair well with light to medium-bodied younger whites, like Riesling and Sancerre. And dishes with white wine as a primary ingredient-- well, surprise, white wine, likewise dishes cooked with red wines.
Spicy dishes overwhelm dry wines in general, especially reds. Light to medium-bodied white wines like Riesling, with a bit of sweetness, balance to the heat. Whites also work better than reds because they're served chilled.
With warm salads, if the dressing isn't too vinegary-- or better yet, it's made with citrus juices-- try the dry white wines of Bordeaux. Lighter fish, like pollock and haddock, and lighter shellfish, like mussels and clams, pair well with lighter white wines, like Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, and Sauvignon blac. Oilier fish, like shark, swordfish, and richer shellfish, like shrimp and lobster, pair with bigger white wines, like Chardonnay, and lighter reds, like pinot noir.
This brings us to the end of How to Enjoy Wine. We've talked about what's in wine how to evaluate, serve, buy, store, match food with it, and more. Another one of the wonderful things about wine is how it facilitates meeting people. It can be a great icebreaker, something to start up a conversation about.
Hopefully you won't take this knowledge and join the ranks of wine bores who go on and on describing the wine tasting and all the other great wines they've tasted. Look for more study rooms covering the great wine regions of the world and more.
Thanks for listening, and please feel free to visit our site with questions and comments from me or your fellow site visitors. Drink in good health.
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Join Abby Nash, lecturer in the Hotel School, for the basics of wine appreciation in a 'How To' format. Starting with your basic senses, you'll learn to discern flavor through smell and taste. Moving on, you'll learn the art of buying, serving and storing wines, how to open and preserve wines, manage the restaurant experience, and select wine and food pairings.
This video is part 10 of 10 in the Wine Appreciation series.