If ever there was Port weather in the Napa Valley, this is it. Highs in the 30s. Lows in the teens. It’s a bit warmer today – it’s supposed to wander up into the 40s. I know that this is nothing compared to what may happen in Nebraska or Niagra, but never the less I say “Brrrr…..”
Why does a glass of Port taste and feel so good on these very chilly nights?
Aside from tradition and romance, there’s actually a logical explanation for it. Port falls into a category of wines called “fortified” wine. What’s the fortification? Grape spirits, or brandy. As the wine ferments, the yeast gradually consumes the grape sugar and converts it to alcohol. The spirits are added before all the sugar is used up. The extra alcohol is too much for the yeast to tolerate so the fermentation ends, leaving a wine that’s typically between 18 and 22% alcohol and noticeably sweet. Continue reading
What could be more romantic than indulging in a little wine and chocolate with your sweetie on Valentine’s day?
But, I should warn you that this particular pairing isn’t always a slam dunk. Here are a few suggestions:
What’s your favorite wine and chocolate pairing?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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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
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