Some wines are definitely a better fit with certain foods, but I admit I lived many years without realizing just good a food and wine pairing could acutally be. On my one and only visit to Lumiere – during the Rob Feenie years – I ordered a ten-course tasting menu and the matched flight of wines for each course. I was humbled.
The food was good. Each course was either a single bite of something quite special or a few bites of something sumptuous. There was Israeli couscous and paper thin smoked duck breast and goat cheese cheesecake and lots of other little plates that I barely remember. But the wines that the sommelier (the super-expert wine guy that really expensive restaurants employ) put with our courses were utterly amazing, not only in how good they tasted, but how they elevated each dish.
I got out of Lumiere about $400 lighter (it was my wife’s birthday present), but seeing wine in a whole different light.
If you have ever wondered which wine to put with a particular dish, wine writer Natalie MacLean has the coolest little gadget to solve your dilemma. Her widget (below) is the result of years of “hedonistic” trial and error. Only the best matchings are included. Give it a try. Click on the food button and select a dish or if you already have a wine click the wine button and see what you are having for dinner. (There is also a mobile version you can use on your iPhone or Blackberry.) Sign up for the Nat Decants Wine Newsletter to keep abreast of all things wine.
So your assignment is to use the wine matcher and share your favourite pairings. If you know of a pairing that the wine matcher doesn’t, let us know. If you have a revelation, we want to know that too. Use the comments button – it’s right down there – and tell me what your favourite food and wine pairings are.
Here are a few that you might not have guessed at:
1. Popcorn with Chilean Chardonnay
2. Nachos with California Zinfandel
3. Potato chips with French Champagne
4. Pizza with Italian Chianti
5. Fish and chips with German Riesling
6. Hamburgers with Australian Shiraz
7. Smoked salmon with Canadian or Oregon Pinot Noir
8. Quiche with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
9. Canned brown beans with tawny Port
10. TV dinner steak with French or Washington Cabernet Sauvignon
Think you can do better? I dare you.