About Wine and Food Pairing

For many of us, choosing among wines is a challenge.
For others, it’s as natural as choosing among water, milk or iced tea with a meal. How can it be so easy for some and so difficult for the rest of us?
Is it a set of rules?
You may have heard that, “Red wine goes with red meat, white wine goes with fish …” Such a rule ignores your preferences, your recipes and your experience.
Is it natural ability?
Do some people have more perceptive palates? We don’t think that accounts for much.
What about practice? Practice works for math, sports, music, drawing … cooking. How does one practice wine selection? We recommend a three-part approach.

Step one: You are already an expert in food pairing. You have been eating meals for years, enjoying foods with one another thousands of times. How does this help you to choose the right wine? Consider wine as a seasoning. With seasonings, you first learn their aromas and flavors, then you can choose among them while cooking. Wine is similar. You first learn the flavors typical of different wines, then you choose among them when planning meals.
Step two: Get some wine. If you already have a favorite wine, buy a bottle if the taste seems at home on the plate with tonight’s supper. (Remember step one?) If you want something different, find a salesperson, tell him/her what you’re having for supper and ask what wine they recommend. If you get a blank stare, or only expensive choices, or a careless reply, keep shopping. If your wine store offers tastings, taste the wines and remember them.
Step three: Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Savor. You have been tasting other beverages all your life, with and without foods. Consider how a glass of milk tastes. Now consider that glass of milk with tollhouse cookies, then meatloaf, then white rice, then fish sticks, then garlic. Did each pairing leave a different impression? Some were appealing, some not-so-much. Practice the same exercise with some wine. When you taste wine anywhere, take your time and think about it. What does it smell like? Does it smell like two or three different things? What are those things? What recipes would you put them in? Think about that wine among other foods. You’ll likely identify some foods that will be great matches. With practice, deciding which wine to pour with supper will be as easy as deciding among milk, water or iced tea is today.
If you would like some assistance with wine and food pairing, stop in. We want you to be satisfied with every purchase, and we will help you to find the right wine for your meal.

Bon Appetit!
Rich & Margot Cirino