You remember Sue from a couple of weeks ago. In a blog about the wonderful undiscovered Riesling, my good friend Sue had Riesling for the first time with Chicken Pad Thai, Sushi and a couple of other spicy dishes. She loved it! Guess what? Sue went out to the same restaurant, had a different dish, ordered the exact same Riesling, and hated it! So she says to me “I had that same wine again last night and hated it”…. “How is that possible”. Through further investigation, I discovered that Sue had a ‘sweet dish’, and that she didn’t like the sweetness of the Riesling with the sweet dish.
But I Thought I Liked This Wine!
So many times I have heard, “the first time I had that wine I really liked it, and not so much the second time” OR ” I tried that wine before and I didn’t really like it, but now it’s very good”
Guaranteed, each time this happens, somewhere along the way food was involved. I understand when someone just doesn’t like a wine. But when you like a wine one time, and don’t like the same wine at a different time, chances are something in your mouth is clashing with the wine.
Personal preferences and palate differences have a huge impact on if you like a wine with certain food. I know people who don’t like wine and cheese. Personally, I love wine and cheese together. One of my instructors in the Sommelier training I am taking, do not like wine and cheese together. He says the salt and fat in the cheese do not make a good combination for him with wine. So I am going to give some examples of clashing food and wines, but keep in mind, this is my opinion, and you may actually enjoy the pairings. No one is right and no one is wrong when it comes to wine… it’s all personal preference.
Asparagus and Wine:
Asparagus is a very tricky food to match with wine, as is many green vegetables, including salad. The trouble with asparagus, and some salads, is that they are very vegetal (grassy), as well as acidic and strong. Some times when speaking about asparagus, people use the word urine. Now it just so happens, that when some people describe Sauvignon Blanc, they use words like cat’s pee and grassy. Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc (the American version of Pouilly Fume). the French Pouilly Fume and Fume Blanc are both made entirely of Sauvignon Blanc grapes. And these wines can cut through that grassiness with its crisp acidic flavors. Pair acidic with acidic. So if you don’t like the wine in your glass, I would look at the vegetables on your plate.
I have heard a few Sommeliers say, if you’re going to have spicy food, drink beer. Well that doesn’t work for us non-beer drinking people. I want wine. And for the regular readers of this wine blog, you know my go-to wine for spicy food is the beautiful Riesling. I did a whole blog on it a couple of weeks ago. The touch of sweetness in the Riesling is the perfect match to the spicy food. However, if you are a ‘red only’ wine drinker, choose Pinot Noir. It’s not sweet, but it’s so soft and subtle that it doesn’t clash with the food. Or a Beaujolais. The hint of sweetness in that red, and it’s served a little more chilled than most reds, would fare well. Residual sugar in wines cools down the spice and creates a balance. Remember ‘Sweet with Heat!”
Here are some of my favorites. A couple of great Rieslings that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Check out the blog ‘The Gorgeous Undiscovered Riesling’ on this subject.
Here’s a nice Beaujolais available all over. Beaujolais is made entirely from the Gamay grape and comes from the Burgundy region of France. All other Burgundian reds are Pinot Noir, this is made from Gamay. 12 million bottles of Beaujolais are made and sold each year. This is a popular wine. This one by Louis Jadot has gorgeous flavors of candied cherries, raspberry and is light and fruity. And speaking of Pinot Noir wines from Burgundy, the wine on the right is one of my favorites. I love Pinot Noir and love the French Burgundian style. On a side note, I love what Oregon is doing with Pinot Noir as well. The wine on the right is a beautiful Pinot Noir from Joseph Druin. It’s medium bodied with lots of earthy flavors, spice and gorgeous bright vibrant fruit. This wine goes with anything and everything. Even if I didn’t know what was on the menu, if I had to choose one white and one red that was the most versatile, I would choose Chardonnay for the white and Pinot Noir for the red to put on the table.
I don’t know about you, but my hand is up. Thanks for reading, till next week – Cheers