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A First Course in Wine: From Grape to Glass. Copyright 2013; Race Point Publishers, NY. 224 pages. Forward by Mario Batali.

The ultimate handbook for all wine drinkers, for beginners and pros.

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Back to the Basics – Food and Wine

It takes two to tango

It takes two to tango

It’s a tough time of year for food and wine pairings.  The cold weather encourages a heartier fare, and with it, comes heavier wines.  Not a problem if you’re into that kind of thing, but what about the winos that enjoy the lighter stuff?  Times like these, it’s good to step back and review the basics of food and wine pairings.  The following guide outlines the main principles of wine’s various structural characteristics and how they’re relevant to food pairings.

Acidity.  Great with tart foods and lighter dishes.  Acidity cuts through a wide array of flavors and textures.  Whether it’s tooth-chattering or subtle, firm acidity in a wine is almost always a good thing.

Tannin.  Ideal with heavier dishes, especially meat proteins.  Also great with bitter flavors and pretty much anything grilled or charred.  Be careful with tannic reds and fish courses.  Tannin and fish oil can lead to metallic and displeasing flavors.  Steer clear of spicy foods and tannic wines.  Tannin accentuates the heat in the dish, so for heavily seasoned dishes stick to lighter and softer wines.

Sweetness.  Sugary unctuousness moderates heat and spicy dishes as well as saltiness.  It also complements sweetness and takes the edge of foods high in acidity.

Oak.  Oak generally gives wines a heavier complexion.  Pair oaky wines with foods that are grilled, smoked, caramelized, charred, or broiled to match the bitterness found in the wine.

Alcohol.  Higher alcohol wines, whether white or red, can feel heavier, denser, and richer in the mouth.  Pair lower alcohol wines with lighter dishes and higher alcohol wines with heavier, richer fare.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, one’s imagination must run wild when it comes to food and wine.  Keep going above and beyond with your pairings and try different foods and wines that you never thought possible…for example, liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti…FWFW. FWFW, FWFW, FWFW, FWFW, FWFW, FWFW, FWFW.

An Ode to the Wine Echo

the wine echo: the memory with perpetual reverberating powers.

Sometimes the echo is fleeting, and sometimes it’s more resonating, but regardless, a wine’s presence is a reverberating echo that can penetrate the most impenetrable of people, and the most impermeable of palates. I’m forever humbled by the journey that wine creates – from the [...]

Wines for (the alarmingly low level of) CHOCOLATE!!!

There is a yawning deficit of chocolate, so go out and get yours today.

The combination of wine and food has been providing happiness and nutrition for many years. While less championed than other foods for its compatibility, chocolate is in it’s own category when it comes to pairing with wine. Chocolate comes in [...]

Interview with Filmmaker Tiziano Gaia on the Making of “Barolo Boys”

Rolling Vineyards in Barolo

This time of year winemakers in the northern hemisphere all over the world are picking ripe grape bunches from the vines and bringing them to the winery. The grapes are transformed into wine and in doing so tell the story of the land from whence they came. As it goes, [...]

Grove and Vine at the SOWEFWF this weekend!

Jonesin’ for some info on olive oil and wine? Join us this weekend for a FREE olive oil and wine seminar this weekend at the Southern Westchester Food and Wine Festival in Mamaroneck. Saturday morning 11AM at the main stage…and if that’s not enough to inspire you, catch THE RAMPS…NY’s premier food band, taking the [...]