Tag Archives: how to pair food with wine

Holiday Pairing: Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with Napa Valley Cabernet


It wouldn’t be Christmas without a holiday recipe and wine pairing from Sherry Page! She has such a great talent for creating delicious flavors without taking all day or getting every pot in the kitchen dirty!

Her recipe for Roasted Tenderloin of Beef is perfect for your Christmas-Day or Chanukah dinner or for an elegant New-Year’s Eve supper. And, so easy to do – even I could do it (I think…). She’s going with a classic for the holidays, pairing the roast with  Cabernet Sauvignon from Round Pond or Redmon. Some cliches exist for a reason! Both are Napa Valley wines, which seems appropriate since Sherry and I are both Napa Valley girls! Enjoy!

Pairing tip: Beef with Cabernet is a classic combination, in part, because the marbling in the meat softens the tannins in the Cab. Try this experiment:

1. Taste the wine and get a sense of the mouthfeel. You’ll feel the grip of the tannins.
2. Take a bite of the meat
3. Taste the wine again. See how much smoother it feels?

About Sherry: My good friend, Sherry Page, has been cooking since age five and has vivid memories of standing on a big, heavy chair at her Grandma’s stove, stirring away! Continue reading


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White Wine Food, When You Feel Like Red


photo from dharmabumx on Flickr

Does that ever happen to you? Happens to me all the time. My protein of choice seems to call for white, but I really want a glass of deep, satisfying red wine. Well, most often I say “The heck with it.” and have what I want. As I’ve said, ad nauseum, most wines and foods taste pretty good together and it’s silly to worry about pairing.

But, the fact is, if you haven’t actually cooked the protein yet, there are bridge builders you can use to make a better match.

You could use a pork chop as an example – or chicken breast – or even a piece of sword fish or halibut.

My favorite bridge builders?  

Grill it! Those blackened, crusty grill marks can pull the dish into the red wine column. The grilled flavor loves tannin and makes the oak pop. Still not quite right? Add salt and lemon juice (thank you Tim Hanni.) Continue reading

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Red with Meat, White with Fish?

Barbara wrote in saying she knows the old rules about red wine with meat and white with fish have been thrown out. But then, what should she go by? This two-minute video explores some options: 

I promised to flesh out the info in the video here on my blog. Here are a few points I didn’t have time to get to:

Flavor matching: This can be fun! If you’re serving a mushroom terrine, try serving it wine a wine that also has earthy flavors like Pinot Noir or Merlot. Or match the citrusy, herbaceous flavors of ceviche “cooked” in lime juice and served with tomato & cilantro salsa with the citrusy, grassy flavors of a Sauvignon Blanc.

I know I already said this in the video, but I want to drive home the fact that the preparation is often more important than the particular sort of protein in the dish. The cooking method, such as grilling vs. poaching, marinades and sauces can be better points of reference when you choose the wine than the meat, fish or chicken.  

Regarding red wine with meat: As mentioned before, matching big flavors makes sense and I’ll add that the marbling in red meats has a softening effect on the tannins in the wine. It’s just another reason that most of us love red wine with our steak. Continue reading

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Brioche Bread Pudding Paired with Dolce Wine

I had the pleasure of interviewing the Executive Chef and the Winemaker for Dolce a few weeks ago ((Dolce is part of the Far Niente group here in Napa Valley). They put together a delicious pairing: Brioche Bread Pudding with the Dolce. YUM!

Dolce is a late-harvest, botrytized sweet wine that’s made from Sémillon blended with a bit of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s exquisite! A glass of Dolce does very well in place of dessert or served with a nice piece of blue cheese or, of course, with this recipe. Don’t worry – the recipe isn’t hard to do. See it here

Anyway, the Winemaker explains how the wine is made and he and the chef talk about pairing the Dolce. Enjoy! 

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Throw a Wine and Food Pairing Party!

We talked about a couple of great books on pairing wine with food recently. Now that you’re armed with really good advice and recipes, how about throwing a wine and food pairing party? Tons of fun! 

What are some of your favorite formats when you host a wine tasting party or pairing party?

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Need Help Pairing Food with Wine?

For those who love wine and love food, but aren’t so sure how to put them together, this video tells you about a couple of great books with great advice by Jill Silverman Hough! Cheers! 

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What is Food Friendly Wine?


Question from Bill: What do you mean when you say that the wine is food friendly?

Reply: Hi, Bill. Thanks for writing. I know I use that phrase quite a bit. First, let me say that all wines are inherently food friendly because of their basic structure. High acid beverages – tart or crisp beverages that aren’t sugary – have a cleansing effect that makes them very food friendly. And, wine is higher in acid than just about any food you can imagine unless you like to snack on fresh lemons. So the thing not to do is worry about this. Besides – preferences are personal!

White wines are generally higher in acid than reds so they’re extremely versatile – it’s really hard to go wrong. So, yes, that means that if you prefer a glass of Pinot Grigio with your short ribs, go for it. Tastes fine, right? The wine still tastes like the wine and the food still tastes the same when you put them together. But, not so satisfying? The thing is, that some foods, like slow-cooked red meats, have so much flavor that, while the crisp white wine isn’t a miss-match it, somehow, doesn’t do the trick. Many of us prefer a wine of ample body to stand up to those substantial flavors and that usually means red wine. Continue reading

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