I’ve always been fascinated with food and wine pairing. Growing up, my dad taught me the basics of wine pairing: lighter food with lighter wine, a little bit sweet with a little bit spicy and how to put wines together that truly complement each other. There are literally infinite ways to pair food and wine. At the end of the day, all that matters is your tastes, but it’s important to know a few basic ground rules so you can impress your guests.
Last weekend I attended Perfect Pairings at Cornucopia, hosted by WineDiva Daenna Van Mulligen and Rachelle Goudreau of Provence Marinaside. Both women are trained sommeliers who have loads of experience and seriously on-point palates. I learned so much from this seminar and can’t wait to attend more like it next year. Here are the top five things I took away from Perfect Pairings.
1) Portugese wine is delicious! I rarely head to the Portugal section at the liquor store, but the Adriano Ramos Pinto Reserva Duas Quintas Red Blend has me changing my tune. This red paired fabulously with Chorizo sausage. It had licorice understones and the tannins cut directly through the fat in the sausage.
What you need to know: Portugese red + spicy grilled sausage.
2) Rosé really does go with everything! As Daenna mentioned during her lecture, rosé is a great middle ground between the lightness of white and the complexity of red. Throw in the Gamay Noir grape and you have a wine that can pair with pork to popcorn. My favourites are here.
What you need to know: when in doubt, rosé all the way!
3) Pinot Noir can stand up to fatty foods. When I think of Pinot Noir, I think of light foods or even sipping on it’s own. However, little did I know I was missing the deliciousness that came with pairing Pinot with a super flavourful food. It was paired with a duck confit and the pairing got better with every sip.
What you need to know: light wine + heavy food can be amazing.
4) I used to think that every bottle with the word “Fumé” on it would be full of oak and smokiness. Boy, was I wrong (and embarassed). The first wine we tried at the tasting was the Joseph Mellot Le Troncsec Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire Valley. It was herbaceous, full of flavour and paired fantastically with a goat cheese crostini.
What you need to know: don’t judge a wine by the words on the label – try it!
5) I’m not a huge seafood person. I like it, I try it, but it definitely isn’t my preference. However, when paired with the right wine it can be quite lovely! We had a typical provençal seafood salad paired with the Monte del Fra Ca Del Magro (an Italian white) and all I could think while trying the pairing was “take me to Positano.”
What you need to know: wine really can change the taste of food – and vice versa.
That’s all for my recap of Corncuopia 2014! I highly recommend checking it out next year if you haven’t in the past. I’ll see you there!