I love this WUMO cartoon and hope you like it too. It begs a few questions. Are we supposed to like all wine recommendations? Have we gotten to the point where we only want to hear snooty wine recommendations? If we get completely honest wine recommendations, are we a bit flummoxed? Finally, is an honest wine recommendation a good reminder that we shouldn’t take wine recommendations, or wine for that matter, so seriously?
If a sommelier ever told you that a particular wine pairs best with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a tuna casserole, how would that make you feel? Personally, I would be tickled. Why? Because I think an honest, down-to-earth wine recommendation is very refreshing. It doesn’t mean I don’t like the wonderful, colorful recommendations that normally come my way. But to have somebody who can laugh a little at the snootiness and seriousness of the wine world is refreshing.
Do We Need to Obsess over Pairings?
I read an article many years ago that really stuck with me. I’m sorry that I don’t remember the author or the article. The main point was that 80% of wine and food pairings are good to really good, 10% are spectacular and 10% are bad. With those odds, you can pair just about anything with anything, and it will be good. If it’s bad, you have a good laugh and pull out another bottle of wine.
Karen MacNeil, the author of The Wine Bible, goes even further to say that “beginning in the 1980s, wine and food pairing becamse something of a national sport… But as time went on, what started out as an exploration meant to heighten enjoyment began to take the form of just another set of ‘rules’ complex enough to make anyone dizzy… The problem with this sort of approach is that it has very little connection – today or historically – to how we actually behave when we cook, eat, and drink.”
A Few Good Wine Recommendations
With that said, it’s still fun to have some good wine recommendations on hand. Karen MacNeil makes her recommendations based on instincts:
- Pair great with great and humble with humble.
- Match delicate with delicate and bold with bold.
- Decide if you want to mirror a given flavor or set up a contrast.
- Saltiness in food pairs beautifully with acidity in wine.
- Saltiness also contrasts wonderfully with sweetness in wine.
- A high-fat food calls out for a “rich, intense, structured, and concentrated wine.”
Foodandwine.com has a great article called “15 Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairings” where they recommend:
- Pinot Noir with earthy-flavored dishes
- Chardonnay with fatty fish or fish in a rich sauce
- Champagne with anything salty
- Cabernet Sauvignon with juicy red meat
- Sauvignon Blanc with tart dressings and sauces
- Dry Rosé with rich, cheesy dishes
- Pinot Grigio with light fish dishes
- Syrah with highly spiced dishes
Cheers to having fun with wine recommendations!
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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