I’ve seen this done for a few other professions lately & decided to come up with one of my own for all of us sommeliers out there…
Your Guide to the Wonderful World of Wine
As the co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Wine & Food Pairing, I participated in a TweetChat with @CIG_Food today. We discussed all sorts of wine and food pairing tips from which wines to pair with holiday meals to my favorite wine and food pairings. Below you’ll find a summary of our discussion. Feel free to email me with any Turkey Day (or other!) wine questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
@CIG_Food:Which wine, red or white, goes best with Thanksgiving turkey?
@YNChick: It depends – light or dark meat. I recommend Pinot Noir, Gamay or Tempranillo with dark and Gewürztraminer or Riesling with light. And that’s just plain turkey. Once you top it with cranberry sauce or gravy, you definitely want to go red.
@CIG_Food: Thank you for your suggestion. We’ll need it! What is your favorite pairing of wine and foods?
@YNChick: I’ve had a lot of wonderful pairings, but my favorite right now is probably hot wings and off-dry Riesling.
@CIG_Food: Is there a reason why those complement each other?
@YNChick: I love pairing everyday foods with wine – hot wings, popcorn, burgers, nachos, fried chicken -there’s a great wine for ‘em all. The sweetness of the Riesling really helps to soften the spice of the hot wings. Sweet + Spicy = Soothing
@CIG_Food: How about sweets? What wine pairs well with pie, the universal Thanksgiving dessert?
@YNChick: It depends on the pie, but a good rule of thumb is to pair it with a wine that is sweeter than the pie.
@CIG_Food: To help us judge just how sweet the wine should be, let’s say we’re having pumpkin pie. What would you recommend?
@YNChick: For pumpkin and apple pies try a sweet Chenin Blanc from France or a Tokaji from Hungary. Tawny Ports are great with pecan pie. There’s also some great late-harvest Gewürztraminer out there that makes a great pairing with pumpkin pie.
@CIG_Food: Sounds delicious! Is there any general rule of thumb for pairing wines with food?
@YNChick: There are a few guidelines for wine and food pairing, but the first and only rule is to HAVE FUN! Guidelines include: pair spicy with sweet, fat with high-acid wines, and intense with intense. We cover these and more in the book.
@CIG_Food: What wines go well with popular Thanksgiving gravy and side dishes, like potatoes or stuffing?
@YNChick: I think that gravy and stuffing is great with Gamay (Beaujolais) and green bean casserole goes well with it, too. If you do a classic oyster stuffing, though, Chardonnay works really nicely. It’s also nice with buttery potatoes.
@CIG_Food: How can wine be used in cooking for Thanksgiving?
@YNChick: You can add wine to dishes as you cook them and even splash some in your gravy. Doing so just further reinforces the pairing.
@CIG_Food: How do we accommodate everyone? Is it best to serve one suggested wine or both red and white wine at Thanksgiving?
@YNChick: If your family is all in agreement about a certain style of wine, then you’re lucky and go with that. But most likely you all have different tastes, so I recommend a white and red or one dry and one sweet wine to cover your bases.
@CIG_Food: Good idea. You know what comes after Thanksgiving… Black Friday! What wines would you buy for family or friends this holiday season?
@YNChick: If you know the recipient’s taste, go for that. Otherwise a gift card to their local small wine shop is a great idea.
@CIG_Food: What is a difficult dish to pair with wine during the holidays?
@YNChick: I think candied yams pose a problem due to their intense sweet, yet savory flavors. I usually pair them with Riesling.
@CIG_Food: Any final tips for pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner?
@YNChick: I often use holiday meals as a way to experiment, so bring several options (keeping pairing guidelines in mind, of course). Or you can ask each adult to bring a different bottle of wine to Thanksgiving and have a wine tasting party. Get to know your local wine shop owner/manager. They intimately know the wines they carry and can introduce you to hidden gems.
@CIG_Food: A tasting party sounds fun. If you don’t mind us asking, what wine will you be pairing with your Thanksgiving feast?
@YNChick: This year I am thinking a German Rosé (from where I interned this fall), a California Zinfandel, a Tokaji, and/or a Beaujolais.
I’ve had several people ask me about this special little wine tool called the “Ah-So” lately, so I thought I would make a quick video illustrating how to use it. Enjoy!
On Thursday, May 26th thousands of people around the world will be sipping and tweeting about Chardonnay – and you’re invited! Getting involved is simple. First thing you’ll need is a Twitter account. They are free and easy to create. Just head over to twitter.com, pick a screen name, and get registered. Second, you’ll need a bottle (or two or three…) of Chardonnay to drink and tweet about. It can be from anywhere in the world, still or sparkling, oaked or unoaked. Just as long as it is Chardonnay, you’re in. Lastly, on May 26th pop the cork or screw the stelvin off of your Chardonnay and tweet about it with the hashtag #Chardonnay. This will allow other Twitter users to follow a stream of posts all about Chardonnay, including your own. Just type up a tweet and include “#Chardonnay” somewhere within it – don’t forget the “#”, it’s important. For example “This XYZ #Chardonnay is delicious! It is especially good with potato chips!”
You can get even more involved with #Chardonnay Day by interacting with other Tweeters or by inviting friends over and making a social event out of it. You can post photos, tasting notes, fun facts, pairing ideas and more… You can even register your location ahead of time at Meetup.com/Chardonnay.
So there you have it, fellow wine geeks. Now, go forth and drink some Chardonnay (and tweet about it!)
You can follow my tweets on May 26th – and always – at twitter.com/YNchick
Wax-dipped wine bottles can seem a bit daunting to open. In an effort to save you the trouble that I went through the first time I was faced with one, I have put together a simple photo tutorial. You won’t believe just how easy it is to break through that wax, once you’ve seen this.
First important note – you don’t want to chip away at the wax with the knife on your corkscrew. This seems to be most people’s first instinct (I know it was mine), but it only results in a mess and possible frustration.
All you need to do is 1.) plunge your corkscrew through the wax.
2.) Slowly pull out the cork, like the wax wasn’t even there. The wax will eventually crack and allow you to lift it and the cork out of the neck of the bottle.
3.) Wipe the opening of the bottle with a serviette (towel), pour, and enjoy!
See, now that wasn’t so bad!
In my opinion, you can enjoy pumpkin in more ways than Bubba could prepare shrimp. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli, toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin latte, pumpkin beer, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin…well, you get the idea.
Now with so many different ways to enjoy pumpkin, there are a lot of wine pairing possibilities. Here are some of my favorites:
- Pumpkin pie, flan, cheesecake, or other sweet pumpkin preparation: Late-harvest Gewurztraminer or Madeira
- Pumpkin bread, pancakes, or muffins: Pumpkin beer or Sparkling wine
- Pumpkin ravioli or risotto: Tokaji Dry Furmint, Viognier, Bourgogne Blanc
- Pumpkin soup or stew: Sherry or Pinot Gris
- Toasted pumpkin seeds: Tocai Friulano or California Chardonnay
Also, if you enjoy pumpkin ice cream, try topping it with a little Bual Madeira before digging in. And if you have some pumpkin beer on hand try out this amazing recipe for pumpkin biscuits or try using pumpkin beer to make beer-can-chicken. The pairing possibilities for pumpkin (and the ways to enjoy them) are endless!
I had the pleasure of noshing on one of Gott’s Roadside’s famous Ahi Tuna burgers today. A beautiful piece of Ahi, lightly seared, a toasted egg bun, Asian slaw, and wasabi-sesame mayonnaise made up this delicious concoction.
With it, I enjoyed a glass of Bieler Père et Fils “Sabine” Rosé. This dry rosé is one of my favorites each year made by one of my favorite winemakers Charles Bieler (I mean, who doesn’t love a guy that rolls around the U.S. in a vintage pink convertible to sing the praises of good, dry rosé?) “Sabine”, named after Charles’ daughter, is a lovely rosy-pink colored wine from the Coteaux d’Aix en Provence region in France. Made up of primarily Syrah, plus some Grenache and Cinsault, this wine is crisp, refreshing, and perfectly-suited for summer…and Ahi burgers!
Last night I had a delicious arugula salad at Zuzu Restaurant in Napa Valley that was composed of crisp arugula, shaved Sao Jorge cheese, portobello mushrooms, sliced artichoke, and a zippy lemon-truffle vinaigrette.
I paired the salad with a crisp white wine from Spain, called Verdejo. This grape is the primary grape of white wines from the Rueda region in Northwest Spain. It used to be utilized in more oxidized, sherry-like wines, but more recently it has been made into more of a clear, clean, and crisp white wine perfect for shellfish, chevre, and, well, salads.
By request of many of the wonderful attendees of the event I did tonight at Drinks Over Dearborn in Chicago, here are the wines and cheeses that were featured. Thank you to all that attended – it was a pleasure to talk wine and food (and other fun things) with you!
(type, producer, region, country/state, vintage)
Sparkling Wine, Marques de Gelida, Cava, Spain 2006
Riesling, Schloss Walhausen “Two Princes”, Nahe, Germany 2008
Unoaked Chardonnay, Hendry, Napa Valley, California 2008
Rosé, Mas de Gourgonnier, Les Baux de Provence, France 2009
Pinot Noir, Gladstone Vineyard “12,000 Miles”, Wairarapa, New Zealand 2008
Sangiovese Blend, Avignonesi, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Italy 2006
Featured Wisconsin Cheeses:
Gouda, Holland’s Family Cheese “Marieke”
Mixed-milk, Carr Valley “Ménage”
Parmesan-like, Sartori ” Bellavitano”
Blue, Roth Käse “Buttermilk Blue”
Cheddar, Widmer’s Cheese Cellars “4 Year Aged”
Also, for those that attended, I forgot to mention that you can also “like” The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine & Food Pairing on Facebook to see what we and the book are up to – just follow this link: http://bit.ly/bXl54D
About the wine:
Chianti is a wine region located in Tuscany, Italy. Here, they are known for their high-acid, medium-bodied reds made primarily with the Sangiovese grape. These wines are notoriously good matches to tomatoes and tomato-based sauces, hard and salty cheeses, and dishes flavored with dried herbs. So you can see why it would be a perfect match for Pizza Margherita!