Food with Wine

One of the things that drive most people batty is this idea of pairing food with wine. And it can get ridiculous sometimes. There are tomes out there that try to inculcate us as to what "specific" wine goes with what food. What goes with duck a l'orange or a burger or, even pickles. When this topic comes up, I always recall one of my father's saying: "drink whatever damn wine you want  for dinner." I know, this is heresy with some of the more pretentious types. Yet, really, who is to say what proper wine goes with what you eat? I know, the usual canard is: white wine with fish; and red wine with meat. But, guess what, I like red wine with fish---and who is to say I'm wrong?

Of course, the concept can be taken to extremes on both accounts. My mother, bless her soul, loved to drink Manischewitz sherry with everything.That was her thing. During my youth, I had friends who, during the Jewish Seder, would drink Mogen David Heavy Malaga Red. Now, if you like Mogen David, and I do, that's okay but, after a while, the sweetish stickiness of the wine gets to you. Luckily, like most Seders in those days, the wine was cut with seltzer water. Thank goodness today we have good, genuine Kosher table wines appropriate to the occasion. It's a matter of common sense. Most people are not going to have a dessert wine with the entrée. That doesn't mean you have to carry a wine bible with you everytime you go out to eat. Most of us, when we go out dining, we usually differ to the maitre d' or, in fancier establishments, the sommelier (you know, the guy with the wine key who selects the wines). I have never gone wrong with differing to those in the know. That' their job, That's what they're paid for. However, let's say, someone invites you to dinner. You may know what the person is going to cook; but what wine to bring? To be safe, just in case, you may decide to bring a red and a white.

There are occasions when you may have to decide what wine will go with your meal and, lets be honest, most of us are not sommeliers, or had the luxury of taking a wine course. I've discovered, through trial and error, that there are wines which are appropriate with almost any category of food. For instance, light reds like a Barbera (dry, mellow, and full-bodied), a Gamay  (think of a light, vibrant Beaujolais) or Pinot Noir (a dry, pleasant Burgandy). They pair well with whatever is on your plate. They are not the heavy hitters like a Bordeaux, a Montepulciano, or a full-bodied Zinfandel. The ones I mentioned are mainly red quaffing wines that won't overpower the meal or put anyone off. As for whites, you can never go wrong with a Chenin Blanc (medium-dry, soft and fruity), Sauvignon Blanc (medium-bodied, crisp and fresh; in California it is also known as Fume Blanc), or Soave (medium-dry, very refreshing). These go good with almost anything---seafood, pasta, even pork. If that doesn't work, and you have a crowd that can't make up it's mind, go with the compromiser---rosé or better, still, champagne. But, whatever you do, go with your taste buds. If you like it, you got it made---no matter what anyone else says. This is America, not the Ritz.

caption: courtesy of Mail Online
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