Food & Wine 7

Right now, hanging out on my wine rack, I have a bottle of 2007 Syncline Mourvedre from the Coyote Canyon Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills, and it’s just begging to be opened. I loved last year’s vintage, so I can’t wait to get at the newest. At the recommendation of Peter Moore from Poco Wine Room, though, it’s going to get even better if I give it a month to open up a bit (it’s still just a baby), so I’ve been sitting on it for about three weeks, going crazy all the while.

With all this anticipation, maybe I should pick just the right food to pair with it. Hmmm…

Enter Natalie MacLean and her new widget, the Drinks Matcher. According to MacLean, she spent eight years testing combinations of food and drinks, and developed a philosophy that while some say pairing dosn’t matter and others say there’s one perfect pairing for each food or drink, both extreme viewpoints fail to help wine lovers. She admits that pairing is subjective, but offers guidance through her gizmo based on her own hedonistic research.

To test it out, I searched for Mourvedre, glancing longingly at my Syncline. What was the perfect match? Paella, anything with a bologneses sauce, Spanish dishes or…kangaroo. Yes, Kangaroo. Now, I’ve never had kangaroo, and I’m as open-minded as the next guy, but I suspect it’ll be hard to find kangaroo at my local Safeway. (I still remember the hubbub over Jack In The Box serving kangaroo meat instead of beef in the early ’90s, though it’s been debunked.)

Still, the Drinks Matcher widget might prove to be a useful tool. If you use Yahoo! Widgets, you can install Drinks Matcher to use right from your computer. Or, you can just go to MacLean’s website and use it online, and even post the widget on damn-near any social media site ever invented.

MacLean says that the “Drinks Matcher is meant to be a springboard to help you discover the matches you prefer. The perfect pairing, of course, is between you and the wine you like.” I applaud her acknowledgement of subjectivity. After all, we’ve all experienced the Oreos-and-Coke phenomenon–two great things that are horrible together, but enjoyable just the same because we love each of them. To each his own…

Give the widget a try. The alternative is spending the next eight delicious years developing your own.

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