Archive for the ‘wine tasting’ Category

Sheets for wine tasting comments

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Writing down notes is useful while tasting wine. It helps you concentrate your senses. Here is a quick list of questions you can browse:

Winetasting on the grassDate:
Location of tasting:
Brand:
Variety:
Vintage:
Appellation:
Place of Purchase:
Price:
Appearance:
Aroma:
Taste:
Overall Impression:

This list is also available as a nice PDF sheet waiting to be filled in.

A competing sheet is available with more explanations at The Frugal Oenophile.

Wine Pairing Rule 5 – Practice & Experiment Often

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

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

Transcript

Neil Smith: Hi, I am Neil Smith with WineSmith and today, I am showing you how to pair wine and food. Now, we are going to talk about our fifth rule which is the most important and that is to practice and experiment often. You could watch these clips over and over again but unless you start actually practicing pairing wine with food you will never really master the art of it. There are plenty of inexpensive wines in the market today which means there are lots of opportunities for you to try a different wine with a different meal every night of the week if you like and the final point of this is to break all the rules. You have to experiment different combinations and see what works for you even if that means breaking all of the first four rules that I just mentioned. So, that’s our fifth rule and just to recap our first four rules – we started that with matching the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. The second rule is to either just try for complement flavors or contrasting flavors. The third rule is to pay attention to sweetness and acidity in the wines and the fourth rule is to never forget to consider sparkling wines and dessert wines when planning a menu. So, those were our five rules for pairing wine and food. I hope you have taken a lot of away from this video and I hope you will enjoy starting to pair wines with food more often. Thank you.

Wine Pairing Rule 4 – Sparkling & Dessert Wines

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

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 and food. Right now, we are going to talk about our fourth rule which is to not overlook sparkling and dessert wines when you are planning a menu and let’s start by talking about sparkling wines. Sparkling wines are usually reserved for one day which is New Year’s eve which is a shame because they are very food friendly wines and they are a great way to start a dinner party or any type of meal where you have guests waiting to be served or waiting for other guests to arrive. Sparkling wines, just by the very nature of do have a salivatory feel to them. So it is a great way to get your guest in the mood for a nice occasion, but it’s also a great way to get your mouth primed, if you will for more food and wine to follow.

So let’s give an example of how sparkling wine works very well with food and what we are going to use is a bottle of sparkling wine that we talked about in the intro as well as some salty food like popcorn or peanuts and I have chosen popcorn for this example. So let’s start by opening the bottle, I am pouring a small glass and then go ahead and taking a bite of popcorn or peanuts, whatever you have handy and then follow that with a sip of the wine. So pay attention to how they bubbles in the acidity in the wine help to clean your mouth up, wash away the saltiness and the butter and again, more importantly, it gets your mouth ready for another bite of food. So that’s enough about sparkling wines.

Let’s talk a little bit about dessert wines. Dessert wines are usually enough to be served on their own and when you are serving dessert wines with another type of dessert you want to make sure that the wine has enough sweetness to stand up to the sweetness in the dessert. So for example, chocolate is a very difficult item to pair with a dessert wine and one of the few dessert wines that work with chocolate is Port. Port also works very nicely with blue cheeses especially, Stilton and then for your other main category of dessert wines things like Late Harvest Rieslings for example, those are usually best served by themselves but can also work nicely with cheeses and simple fruits. So that’s our fourth rule for pairing wine and food and now we are going to talk about our fifth rule which is to experiment and practice often.

Wine Pairing Rule 3 – Pay Attention to Acidity & Sweetness

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

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

Transcript

Neil Smith: Hi, I am Neil Smith with WineSmith and today, I am showing you how to pair wine with food. Right now, we are going to talk about our third wine and food pairing rule which is to pay attention to acidity and sweetness in the wine and what I mean more specifically by that is thinking about a white wine like Sauvignon Blanc for example that has a high level of acidity. We need to think about the food and whether or not it has equally high levels of acidity or does it have sweetness. So sweetness can actually make a highly acidic wine taste even sharper and very unpleasant whereas acidity in food can actually, tame the acidity in the wine and work well together.

So I invite you to do another taste test with me to prove that point. For that taste test we are going to need the Sauvignon Blanc that we talked about in the intro. We are also going to need same grilled chicken breast with some lemon wedges and then finally, we will blow the cake doughnuts. So what we are going to do to start off this tasting is take the lemon wedge and squirt it all over the chicken. I want to get as much on there as you can just to prove the point. I am actually going to go ahead and put two on just to make sure you have lots of lemon juice on there and then take a bite of the chicken breast with the lemon juice on it. I have to chew that bite and swallow it. Take a sip of the Sauvignon Blanc and the Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t seem quite as sharp as it does without the food.

Now to illustrate the second half of that example, take a small bite of the cake doughnut which is plenty sweet and then follow that with a sip of the Sauvignon Blanc. So with the sugar from the cake doughnut followed by the acidity in the wine you can see what I mean about how the sugar really brings out more of the acidity in a wine and makes it very sharp and rather unpleasant in the mouth. So those are a couple of rules to remember when you are thinking about the acidity and the sweetness in wine. One other point is a sweet wine or a wine that has a lot of natural fruitiness to it like a German Riesling for example, can work very well with spicy food because the sweetness in the wine or the fruitiness in the wine will help to tame the spice of the food.

So next time you have something like a Thai curry or a spicy Asian dish, try pairing that with a German Riesling or an Alsatian Gewurztraminer and notice how the sweetness in the wine helps tame the spiciness in the food.

So these are some tips to remember when pairing highly acidic wines or sweet wines with your meal. Now we are going to talk about the fourth rule which is to always remember sparkling wines and dessert wines when planning a menu.