I saw so many comments regarding “wine and food” leading up to Thanksgiving that I couldn’t resist blogging on it again this week.
Now, don’t get me wrong; there are definitely some foods that go great with some wines. Port with Stilton cheese; California Chardonnay with cream sauces; Zinfandel with BBQ; Chablis with oysters; Riesling with curries — all compliment each other beautifully! One of my favourites is Grenache with Roast Turkey, as the Provencal herbs go so well together. Hence my choice once again this year to serve Gigondas at Thanksgiving.
So if you have a chance to match some of thewe up, then go for it! But when I see reviews that say “this is a wine made for food”, the hair on the back of my neck stands up.
You know why? It implies that the wine doesn’t taste good on its own and somehow needs the right food to make it better.
What a crock! If you don’t like a wine when you taste it — regardless of its style — food will only cover that up. This is especially the case with woody, herbal red wines (the ones that always seem to get these kind of recommendations). Think about the logic here for a second. The analogy is putting ketchup all over your food to mask the taste. That’s what you are saying if a wine “needs” food!
This is especially infuriating if you paid a lot for the wine. Can you imagine buying a $30 or $40 piece of meat, cooking it up and then telling someone “oh, just pour ketchup over it and it will taste great!”. Absurd, right? But that is what is really going on when someone tells you it is a “food wine”.
So watch out for that kind of recommendation — from anyone. Its way better to find a wine whose style you like and stick with it regardless of the food you are eating. At least that way, you can enjoy each on its own.