Posts Tagged ‘pairing wine & food’

It’s that time of year…dinner party season!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
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Whether you have cabin fever or mid-winter blues, warm your house with the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen & the constant ringing of the doorbell as friends & neighbours arrive. Here’s an article Debbie wrote that appeared in the latest issue of Ottawa at Home Magazine. 

Pondview Rose with foodHosting a gathering of any kind – dinner party, potluck or cocktails – can be hectic & unnerving even for the best prepared host.  Having the evening fully catered definitely takes the weight off the menu but really part of the fun is planning the menu & cooking for your guests.  With this underway, you are then faced with the looming question – what drinks to serve and should it be white wine or red wine –  or something else entirely?

“I have been called on numerous times for suggestions of crowd pleasing wines that won’t break the bank…yet will impress”, says Debbie Trenholm, Sommelier & founder of Savvy Company.  “I even had someone call me from the Spanish wine aisle at the LCBO & couldn’t decide which ones to buy.  So they texted me photos of what was on the shelf & we shopped ‘virtually’ together!”

 Debbie’s tips for your next fun wine & food filled evening:

wine_tasting_sparklingPop the corks!  Greet your guests with a glass of bubbly – it is a great way to kick off the evening.  Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava are sure fire bets of sparkling wines priced under $20.

The 30-70 rule – buy 30% white wine & the rest red wines, especially in the winter when it is natural to want a glass of heavier wine

Chill your wine in the snow!  No need for bags of ice when there is lots of snow around. Shovel the white stuff into a wine bucket or place bottles in the snowbank at the front door or on your back deck.

Have a mini wine tasting.  Give each guest or set each place at the table with 2 or 3 wine glasses and a sampling (2 oz or so) of different wines in each.  Throughout the evening ask your guests which wine they think is best with the food.  Guaranteed that this will become a lively conversation!

A quick Wine & Food Pairing 101

grapes Niagara-on-the-Lake Sept 2013 low res“Stay close to your roots. Or, rather, stay close to your wine’s roots. Wines are always best matched with foods from the regions where they are made”, says Debbie about pairing wine and food. “Uncork a bottle of wine from Italy with a meal of Italian cuisine – afterall, both the wine and food from this country were meant to go together.  Same with French, German, Spanish fare…and Canadian too!”

White or red wine? Toss out the idea to match your wine with the meat. Fish, chicken and meat is the canvas — what matters is flavour. Make your choice on the spices, marinade or sauce—choose the wine that will make your meal sing. Debbie offers these ‘rules of thumb’:

Wine and…

…spicy food – look to the hard-to-pronounce white wine
If you’re tucking into an Indian curry, Thai dish or Mexican dinner, uncork a bottle of Gewürztraminer – the light and naturally sweet wine will play with the exotic spices and ingredients that will add WOW to your meal.

…salad – go bone dry
Think dry and crisp when matching to salads. The acidity of the vinegar in the dressing can play havoc with the wine, making it taste more acidic or ‘tinny’. Pinot Grigio from Italy or Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand are always safe bets.  Or Debbie suggests to simply skip serving wine with this course to take a break and cleanse the palate for the rest of the meal to come.

…grilled fish – smell the flowers & roses
With grilled fish you can swing both ways by serving a glass of a medium bodied floral white wine like Viognier (pronounced vee-oh-NYAH) that complements the flavours of the fish or a light bodied red wine such as Gamay or Pinot Noir – one that has notes of red roses – to amplify the charred flavours.

…heavier meats – need heat & smoke
Warm spice (think cinnamon and cloves), smoke and plum aromas and tastes in a red wine go superbly with the marinade on lamb chops, saucey spareribs or a herb encrusted roast beef.  Add to your shopping list a bottle of Carmenère from Chile (pronounced car-men-EHR) or a red Zinfandel from California.

Looking for a shopping list of wines?

Savvy Company’s Sommeliers give ‘must buy’ recommendations every two weeks in their blog ‘If I only had $100, I would buy at Vintages…’. 

Cheers & bon appétit!
-Debbie

 

 

 

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It’s back to ‘wine’ school! Class #1: Matching food & wine

Posted by Amanda

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
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All the kids head back to school this week and you might need an extra glass of wine (or two). At Savvy Company, we want you to put your feet up and get ready for this weeks lessons while we serve up a roster of mouth-watering themes such as: Food & Wine Pairings; Tasting & Storing Wine; Ordering Wine.  Ready for this delicious time table?  Rest assured there is no homework, just practice, practice, practice!

Wine 101: Matching wine with food

Red wine or white wine?

White or red? Forget the old rule of thumb that you match to your meat. Fish, chicken and meat is the canvas—what matters is flavour. Make your choice on the spices, marinade or sauce—choose the wine that will make your meal sing.

Stay close to your roots. Or, rather, stay close to your wine’s roots. Wines are always best matched with foods from the regions where they’re made. Uncork a bottle of wine from Italy with a meal of Italian cuisine.

Wine & Eggs…who’d have thunk it

Matching wine with egg dishes is always a sommelier’s challenge! Be gentle—match a quiche or soufflé with a light-bodied Pinot Gris or unoaked Chardonnay to avoid overpowering the delicate flavours.

Wine & Salad…go dry

Think dry and crisp when matching to salads. The acidity of the vinegar in the dressing can play havoc with the wine, making it taste more acidic or ‘tinny’. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine are always safe bets.

Wine & seafood…try it all

All mussels are not alike. Steamed mussels in a tomato-based sauce match brilliantly with red Italian wines such as a Valpolicella or Chianti. Mussels in white wine sauces go best with the wines they’ve been cooked in: usually Pinot Grigio or Semillion.

Wine & soup…follow the soup’s lead

If you’re serving a rich soup—say a creamy seafood chowder—go with a medium-bodied Chardonnay barrel-aged in oak.

Wine & Oysters…flavors will pop

Make the flavours of fresh oysters pop with chilled Champagne, Chablis or Chenin Blanc.

Wine & holiday feasts…go buttery

For those traditional holiday turkey dinners, a buttery Chardonnay or an earthy Pinot Noir will perfectly complement savoury stuffing, rich gravy and tart cranberry sauce.

Wine & spicy food…look to the hard-to-pronounce wine

Spice it up. If you’re tucking into an Asian dish or Mexican dinner, pop the cork on a bottle of Gewurztraminer – a classic pairing.

Wine & veggies…go dry or go home

Asparagus, spinach, goat cheese, or fish with butter lemon sauce—pair any of these with a dry, crisp, zingy Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine & fish…smell the flowers

Sure, you can enjoy the light floral and apricot aroma of a chilled white wine Viognier (pronounced vee-oh-NYAH) on its own—but why not go for a fuller savoury experience, matching a glass with roast chicken, light cheeses or grilled fish.

Wine & heavier meats…spice it up

Spice, smoke and plum go superbly with lamb, spareribs, barbecued beef and vegetables—and you will find all three flavours swirling about in a glass of medium to full bodied Chilean Carmenère (pronounced car-men-EHR).

Wine & light lunch…think fruity

Appetizers, salads, tapas foods and lighter lunches all go perfectly with the violet, cranberry and strawberry aromas of Rosé wines.

Wine & everything else…

Not too heavy, not too light—for red or white meat Pinot Noir’s often just right.

What does a glass of Aglianico (pronounced ah-LYAH-nee-koh) red wine go best with? It’s partly a question of age. A younger Aglianico has the acidity to suit pasta and other dishes with tomato-meat sauces; an aged bottle, however, goes best with heartier dishes such as stuffed beef tenderloin and veal marsala. 

Call on us for other food & wine lessons!

Our Savvy Team of Accredited Sommeliers would be happy to help you out if you have any questions on which wine to serve at your next dinner party – or better yet, we can organize your very own wine tasting from start to finish. Call us or email us to talk about wine.

Cheers!
Debbie

 

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