Archive for the ‘wine buying’ Category

Wine Pairing Rule 1 – Match Weights of Food & Wine

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

This film is the fourth in a series of eight by Neil Smith, owner of the WineSmith wine shop in Ashburn, Virginia. At the end of the video, you will have the opportunity to click to watch the next one.

Transcript

Neil Smith: Hi, My name is Neil Smith with WineSmith and today, I am showing you how to pair wines with food. Right now, I am going to talk about the first rule which is the most important and that’s to match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. The reason why this is an important rule is because you don’t want the wine to overwhelm the food. So if you think about something like a very lightly prepared fish, like a Tilapia that has been baked in the oven, you wouldn’t want to pair that with something very heavy like a Cabernet Sauvignon because the weight of the wine will overwhelm the food.

So let’s illustrate this point by doing another taste test. So we are going to use the grilled chicken and the barbeque sauce and the same Cabernet that we talked about in the intro and what I want you to do is take a bite of the chicken first, just by itself, small bite. Very simple, just a grilled chicken breast, not much flavor, very light and then take a sip of the Cabernet. It immediately washes away any of the flavor from the chicken. Now let’s do another taste test. Take another piece of the same chicken and now dip it thoroughly in the barbeque sauce to get it covered. Take another bite. Then immediately take another sip of the wine. The wine actually stands up to the barbeque sauce and the barbeque sauce stands up to the wine. So you can see how something like a sauce or a side item with your meal can really effect which wine you would want to choose to pair with it. So chicken breast by itself, perhaps a lighter white wine or a very light red wine like Pino Noir, but if you are going to have it with barbeque sauce or some other kind of heavy sauce, you might do a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz or a Zinfandel or something like that. So that’s an example of the first rule of pairing wine with food which is to match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. Now we are going to talk about the second rule of food and wine pairing which is to either complement the flavors or contrast the flavors when pairing wine with food.

Understanding the Connection Between Wine and Food

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

This film is part of a series of eight by Neil Smith, owner of the WineSmith wine shop in Ashburn, Virginia. I have selected some material by other wine writers while I am too busy to write my own articles.

Transcript

Neil Smith: Hi, my name is Neil Smith with WineSmith and today, I am showing you how to pair wine with food. Right now, I am going to talk about the connection between wine and food and that connection is very important because it’s only in the fairly recent history that we have started to enjoy wine or think about wine as something to be enjoyed by ourself, but the origin of wine is actually, to have a beverage that helps enhance your meal, the flavors of the meal and brings in a little more sophistication to the meal. Most wines, I have talked about dryness and sweetness earlier in the video, most wines are on the drier side and are not necessarily meant to be enjoyed by themselves.

If you think about European cuisine, it’s very common to hear about Europeans having a glass of wine with every meal and there is a reason for that and to illustrate that point I would like to invite you to do a taste test with me. We are going to do is take a sip of the Cabernet Sauvignon that we talked about at the intro clip, then we are going to take a small bite of the cheese and then take another sip of the Cabernet Sauvignon. We are going to discover how the wine actually changes flavors in profile when it’s paired with the food. So start with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and notice how the full bodied wine it has those tannins that I talked about in the last clip. It has that mouth drying feeling and now we are going to take a bite of the cheese and then I have a sip of the wine and even a small bite of cheese has already helped to soften the tannins on the finish of the wine. So the wine is much smoother and softer now than it was by itself and likewise, the wine actually brings out the flavors of the cheese a little bit more so the two really do complement one another.

So, you will see in future clips as we talk about the other rules of how wine and food can really complement the taste of one another and the feel of one another in the mouth. So that’s a little bit on the connection between wine and food and now we are going to get into the first rule which is matching the weight of the wine with the weight of the food.

Basic Wine Vocabulary

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

This film is part of a series by Neil Smith, owner of the WineSmith wine shop in Ashburn, Virginia.

Transcript

Neil Smith: Hi, my name is Neil Smith with WineSmith and today, I am showing you how to pair wine with food. Right now, I am going to spend a few minutes talking about wine vocabulary just to explain a few terms that I will be using throughout the course of video. We are going to start with the term sweet and dry and it’s helpful to talk about dry wine first.

When wine is made, it starts with sugar. There is sugar that’s naturally present in the grapes and the fermentation process converts that sugar into alcohol. When all of the sugar is fermented into alcohol, there is no residual sugar left behind and you are left with a dry wine. If some of the residual sugar is – if some of the sugar is left in the wine it’s called residual sugar and if it’s significantly present, then the wine is considered as sweet wine and you do have a level in between called semi-dry but we will talk about that in a few minutes.

So, some wines can be dry, but still have enough fruitiness to them that they have an impression of sweetness. So it’s helpful to think about a jar of jelly for example. Some wines have are considered jammy or jelly-like in the sense that they have very concentrated fruitiness and although, the wine is technically, dry it has some of its fruitiness that it seems somewhat sweet. So it’s an important distinction to make. Generally speaking, your sweet wines are only reserved for things like dessert in the parties. The next term I want to talk about briefly is acidity. Acidity is a very important component in wine because it helps a wine to stay clean and crisp. If you think about something like a lemon wedge that has a lot of acidity and you squirt a little lemon over your fish or chicken helps to bring out the flavors. Acidity also helps to make your mouth feel clean. So that if you take a bite of food and then follow that with a sip of the clean white wine that’s high in acidity, it helps your mouth feel clean and ready for another bite.

The final term I am going to discuss is tannins. Tannins are also naturally present in wine just like they are in tea. If you think about leaving a teabag in the water too long you get a very tannic effect and the tea has astringency or it has the mouth drying feeling. Wines that are high in tannins can have the same effect and tannins can come from two places. One is naturally present in the wine and the other is when a wine is aged in oak for a significant period of time it can have additional tannins that it leaches from the oak. So those are the most important terms we will be using throughout the video today. So now let’s get into the connection between wine and food and the five rules for pairing wine and food.

How to Pair Wine with Food

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

This film is the first in a series of eight by Neil Smith, owner of the WineSmith wine shop in Ashburn, Virginia. At the end of the video, you will have the opportunity to click to watch the next one.

Transcript

Neil Smith: Hi, my name is Neil Smith. I am the owner of a wine shop in Ashburn, Virginia called WineSmith. Today, I am going to give you a few points for how to pair wine confidently with food. We are going to cover some basic wine vocabulary to get us started and then I am going to give five simple rules for you to remember that as you plan your meals to pair wine with food. We are matching the weight of the wine with the food, complementing or contrasting wine flavors with the flavors and texture of the food, paying attention to sweetness and acidity in the wines, Dessert Wines and Sparkling Wines and then finally, practicing and experimenting often. But before we begin, it will be helpful to have a few items on hand to get the most out of this video. First is the Sparkling Wine, a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc and then a full bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon. For food items, something salty like popcorn or salted peanuts, some crackers, two types of cheeses – one soft and creamy like goat’s cheese and something else that’s a little bit harder and firmer like cow’s cheese, some barbeque sauce, plain grilled chicken strips, some cake donuts and some lemon wedges.

So before we begin, let me tell you a little bit about myself. Prior to opening this store one year ago, I spent over a year studying and tasting wines. Since we have opened, I have conducted several classes on wine basics and how to pair wine with food. So with that said, let’s get started on pairing wine with food and I hope you will take away lots of information from the video.