To receive a listing as a writer for hire on Scripted (which I have since never checked, but I intend to!) I needed to explain in 300 words or less how to pair wine and food. That seemed like a whole lot of thinking (not to mention wine tasting) to be used only to get a profile on a writers’ version of LinkedIn, so I’m also publishing it below. Prepare for a very brief wine education:
I’m an enthusiastic cook and thrower of dinner parties and I always want to introduce my guests to something new. I am not, however, a wine aficionado, so pairing an interesting wine with the menu was never my strong suit. . . until I sat down with some wine-loving friends and invented the three bottle method of wine and food pairing.
This method relies on developing favorite wines in three categories and always having at least one bottle in each on hand. The categories, which cover a variety of food matches, are:
- Semi-dry white
- Spicy red
- Dry, sparkling white
I didn’t begin with favorite vineyards and varieties in any category, much less these. My strategy for finding favorites was simple:
- Start tasting two different wines in the same category; it’s easiest to think about a wine’s flavor in comparison with other wine.
- Test how the flavor changes with food. Try bread, cheese, cured meat and very dark chocolate, which cover salty, sweet, bitter and savory while leaving out sour (already a dominant flavor in wine).
- Ask yourself questions about your favorite. How would it taste drier, sweeter, more fruity, less fruity, more citrusy (white), more smoky (red). . . etc.
- Go back to the wine store, explain what you tried, what you thought, and ask what to try next.
Soon enough, you’ll have your favorites. The next step is to get these wines into semi-regular dinner table rotation to become very familiar with their flavor.
And when it’s time to pair with food for guests? Simply reach for what you want to drink. The work came in getting to know a few wines well – after that, trust your own taste buds. If you like the pairing then it’s the perfect match.