Pairing wine to a meal is not a science, rather, I think it is an art. Like draping a colourful scarf or adding funky necklace, a woman’s outfit turns from “nice” to “WOW!” Same thing with a man’s suit – goes from “sharp” to “looking like a million bucks” when adding a fashionable tie or crisp shirt. Taking the time to thoughtfully pair wines to the ingredients of a meal can have impact and makes a memorable impression.
So how to do it?
I offer two ways. Keep in mind my wine and food pairing fundamentals or use a lifeline that gives you the answer in a few clicks.
Perfecting the fundamentals takes patience and practice – both taking you on a delicious discovery. Chefs and Sommeliers experiment with a sip of wine here with a nibble of food there all day long (truth be told not ALL DAY – we need time to work out at the gym to keep our waist lines in check).
The fundamentals that I keep in mind:
Toss out the rule that white wine should be served with chicken and fish while red wine goes with red meat. Fish, chicken and meat are a canvas for the chef. It is the sauce, spices or marinade that you want to enhance by selecting a wine that will complement their flavours to make the meal sing.
Focus on the origin of the food. Wine has been crafted for centuries to accompany regional food. For example, Italian wine goes well with Italian cuisine. Pairing the country of origin for both the food and wine is simply put: a natural fit.
Make it fun! There is no right or wrong wine to serve. Why not pour a splash of two (or more) wines in different glasses to experiment with your meal. Need some suggestions of where to start? Email me your menu.
A recipe, a wine list or shopping for wine may not be that straight forward. Here is where the pros come in with a helpful gadget or as some would say – a lifeline.
The wine world is all a buzz at the moment with wine writer Natalie MacLean’s Wine and Food Matcher. Every wine enthusiast should have this at their fingertips. Whether you carry a BlackBerry or Iphone, this ‘app’ is like having both a Sommelier and a Chef at your side.
For those non-cell phone wine shoppers, you can download Natalie’s ‘widget’ to access the same information from your desktop.
Simply two clicks away from a verdict.
Whether you start with the food on your plate or your preferred style of wine, click-click-click and the Wine and Food Matcher narrows down your options. As said earlier, pairing is an art. Natalie and a team of techies at Ottawa based company bitHeads figured out the science behind this app.
The app for your Blackberry Curve, Blackberry Bold, iPhone or iPod Touch go to http://www.nataliemaclean.com/mobilematch/
The widget for your computer go to http://www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher/
Within minutes and you have a virtual Sommelier at your fingertips.
Even as a Sommelier, our Savvy Team are often called upon to host wine and food events or develop a wine list for restaurants, Natalie’s Wine and Food Matcher has been a big help validating our choices.
Other wine enthusiasts agree. “It is incredibly handy”, reports Jay on Natalie’s web site
“It is simple and quick. Now you have Natalie’s vast wine pairing resource at your fingertips”, reviews Craig.
“…when I am at a restaurant and wondering what to order, I discreetly pull out my phone and in two clicks my decision has been made…by Natalie!”, shares another app enthusiast.
Visit Natalie’s web site www.nataliemaclean.com and follow the simple download instructions. While you are at it, sign up for her weekly newsletter too.
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PS – you can follow Natalie on Twitter too! www.twitter.com/nataliemaclean