I like to pair wine with foods. I also like simplicity. There are dozens of food types and styles that will go with most wines. I am however not a food critic. It would be very unfair of me to give my thoughts on someones hard work and creativity in the kitchen unless I am entitled to do so!
The web (blogs especially), magazines and, I must admit, even the daily broadsheets, have endless examples of self made critics. There is nothing wrong with having a view and expressing it. There is a subtle difference between that and being a critic!
Obviously we all have to start somewhere and it would be patently stupid to suggest we wait until someone has grey hair or a string of degrees or something before we can accept them into the critics inners circle! So, what to do?
Maybe we need to start reviewing the critics? Don’t accept what they say unless that can at the very least support their views with some form of credibility. For instance if I attend the Chilean wine fair and then compare a restaurants house wines (from Chile) against the 150 or so I had just tasted you would have to say it’s a valid critique. If on the other hand I take a copy of the wine list home with me, look up the web and figure out a bit about the wine and then tack that onto the end of my restaurant review…..well you can see what I mean!
Don’t just accept reviews. Question them. Don’t believe reviewers without questioning their credentials.
Sometimes simplicity works. Viognier and roast chicken anyone? or would you prefer an obligingly comprehensive suggestion from the brilliant Natalie Maclean on NatDecants?
Pair Viognier with mild curries, grilled fish, scallops, shrimp glazed ham, grilled chicken, oily nuts such as macadamias and cashews, Emmental cheese, chicken in a ginger or orange sauce, turkey tetrazzini, chicken korma or tika, fried food, sashimi, sushi, lamb tagine with raisins, almonds and honey, butternut squash risotto, pork chops, smoked ham, tarragon, lobster thermidore, carrot soup and roast vegetables. Chicken and Poultry: Honey-Roast Poultry,Turkey With Traditional Trimmings. Ethnic Dishes: Chicken Korma, Chicken Tika, Coconut Curry (Mild), Creamy Curries, Curries: Spicy. Deep Fried Food: Hummus, Indian Dishes, Lightly Spiced Curries • Sashimi • Spicy Food • Spring Rolls • Sushi • Thai Coconut Shrimp • Thai DishesLamb • Lamb Tagine With Raisins, Almonds & HoneyPasta • Butternut Squash Risotto • Lemon-Mint RisottoPizza • Pizza, PestoPork • Ham And Melon • Pork Chops & Maple Glaze • Pork Chops, Grilled • Smoked HamSauces, Spices, Herbs • Anise, Fennel • Butter Sauce, Beurre Blanc • Caraway • Dill • Seafood Sauce, Cream-Based • TarragonSeafood & Shellfish • Clam Chowder Cream Base • Coquilles ST. Jacques • Grilled Salmon • Halibut With Orange & Salsa Verde • Lobster • Lobster Thermidore • Poached Salmon • Shrimp Cocktail • Smoked FishSoups & Stews • Chicken Soup • French Onion SoupTurkey Holiday Dinner • Turducken • Turkey With Traditional TrimmingsVegetables & Salads • Baked Squash • Carrot Soup • Field Greens Salad • Marshmallow Sweet-Potatoes • Pumpkin Dishes • Roast Vegetables • Smoked Mushrooms • Spiced ParsnipsAppetizers • Oily Nuts (Macadamia, Cashews)Cheese • Emmental Grand CruChicken/Poultry • Chicken In A Ginger, Orange Sauce • Chicken/Turkey Tetrazzini, Cream Casserole • Chicken With Pancetta & Herbs
Natalie MacLean is brilliant and I love her site. Believe it or not she sounds (never met her, heard her on the radio) as though she can deliver impartial advice in a simple and easy to understand manner. I will continue to question her. I don’t expect she would have it otherwise. Maybe that’s the secret to being a valid critic?