Wine Notes


I was flipping through my recipe binders last night searching for something to make for a gathering this weekend and what do I come across?  Notes from a wine class I took in 2004.  Hmmm…I knew nothing about wine back then.  I remember drinking that bright blue bottle of super sweet Riesling and other quality stuff.  I never sank so low as White Zin, though, fear not.  I loved reading over some of this info.  Lots of good notes to keep in mind.

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Basic Rules (per the instructor):

-Drink what the locals drink — ‘when in Rome, …’

-Drink what you want to drink, not what somebody else tell you is the ‘right wine’

-Beware that some pairings will clash (like spicy Shiraz with angelfood cake)

-Main ingredient is important but…

-Accents in the sauce and seasonings are the focus of the flavors

-Time of day is important:
-afternoons – maybe whites or roses work best
-evenings – fuller-bodied whites and reds are more satisfying

-Season:
-hot summer afternoons
-cool to cold winter evenings
-instructor deep thought — air conditioning was probably invented so that red wine would taste better in the summer.  Nice!!

-Temperature:
-cold dishes need cold wines, usually lighter wines
-warm/hot dishes need bolder flavors and bigger wines

-Length of time cooking:
-short cooking (stir fries, seared, etc) suggests lighter wines
-longer cooking suggest heartier wines

-What else is on the plate?:
-one bottle for an entire meal presents problems
-some meals, think Thanksgiving, offer a wide range of flavors that are tough to match

-Pick wine that matches the weight and ‘size’ (bigness of flavor):
-simple, fragile wines with simple, fragile flavors
-robust wines with hearty dishes

-Texture:
-best example of texture in wine is sparkling wine (or beer) with spicy Asian food
-consider this range of texture:  filet of flounder, lobster tail, steak

-Cooking with wine:
-easiest rule:  serve the same wine
-therefore:  never cook with cheap wine

-Sweet wines are tough to match with main dishes, but not impossible:
-Americans are used to drinking sweet drinks (soda, iced tea) — why not sweet wine?
-the secret is in balancing sweetness and acidity

Great wine (vs food) for thought when hitting the stores this weekend and deciding what to pick up.

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