19 August 2010

19Aug-spectator article on pairing
i'd recommend either picking up this month's copy of the wine spectator or, at least, flipping through it at a barnes and nobles or another bookseller who's tolerant of people coming in and reading the new off their inventory.
i think the article on pairing is really well done, covering a good deal of ground. it offers suggestions for tricky matches such as artichokes.
"Chemical compounds in this vegetable make anything taste sweet, including most wines. So choose a tart wine: the artichoke should make it rounder and softer. As with most 'problem foods,' other ingredients in the dish can mitigate the effect as well."

there are several little comments by well-known chefs discussing some their more memorable moments of food and wine pairing as well as some theory here and there.

this practice of appropriate food and wine pairing is something i'm glad to see supported and explained in so major a wine magazine since i feel like, for several years now, so much emphasis and enthusiasm has been given to huge, concentrated wines that don't seem at all like good food wines. this tendency is beginning to wane a little, i'm happy to see, but for many novice drinkers (this was certainly true for me when i first started playing with wine) the natural leaning is for big, broad stroke wines that don't require much thought to drink. i think it often takes time and a library of experiences to recognize and fully appreciate the nuances of a delicate burgundy or a well-aged bordeaux. i'm well aware that this is a broad statement but my 15 years in the industry, at least at my low-volume, niche market level, would suggest that this is largely true. so it's natural that some of your bigger, more concentrated wines will appeal to a wider array and will dominate the market, both restaurant and retail.
many people will be drinking wines that either overpower their meals or are, themselves, overpowered. but this doesn't have to be and, with this article (and some books in it that they recommend) the arena of intelligent, intuitive pairing is well within the grasp of anybody who cares to put some thought into it.
and this is something i encourage everyone to do. food can be magical and wine can be magical and it's all too easy to compromise your dining experience with a poor pairing.
there's also the opinion of "drink what you want to drink." chemistry and personal preference will always have the potential to be at odds but many times unexpected pairings will work out (i'm sure you know at least one couple who illustrates this.)

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