Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wine & Food: My Way

Rioja Wine, Wood Grilled Pork Belly & Fresh Baked Baguette, one of the best lunches I have ever had!

I consider this the proper way to drink wine, the Spanish Way!

As the chef at Tastings having a love affair with wine is inevitable. My wine knowledge is constantly evolving.I am a rum drinker at heart, followed by a perfectly poured Stella Artois and being from the Boston area an occasional Bud Light passes these lips.But a love of wine is growing deeper with each day that passes.

Many people are intimidated when it comes to talking about wine, including myself, probably due to a fear of being judged "wrong". But as a chef I have no problem discussing what my senses are experiencing. I look at the wine in the glass, swirl it, put the glass to my nose and sniff, you ll probably see me close my eyes and what I'm doing is using my food memories, as I swirl the wine around my palette and inhale I'm trying my best to better analyze the wine.

One of my favorite things to do is participate in a blind tasting(unknown wines are sampled and people attempt to identify each one) although I am not an expert at telling you what it might be, I am becoming pretty successful at telling what its NOT, a great tool to help me focus on what the wine might be. And I always do these in the presence of professionals in the wine trade. By doing this I have been able to discuss, learn and establish my likes & dislikes. I find that trying to do it on your own is impossible, and being able to build relationships with people who really understand the wine world has helped me increase my knowledge quickly.

Now when I develop a dish I am beginning to think about how wine will be enhanced with each course. Developing the ability to pair food and wine to compliment each other has taken me to a different level of cooking than I was at 3-4 years ago.
One thing I want to stress is that food and wine pairing is solely a matter of your own taste preferences. I focus on whether the combination will please my palette and not what the "experts" might say.I also don't care about label and price. If its a good pairing its a good pairing, simple as that. I recently bought a bottle of an Israeli wine for $8, 2005 Noah Gideon Cabernet Savignon, let me tell you that this was by far one of the best Cabs I have ever tried.

Believe me when I tell you that there are a lot of wine lovers out there that will always sound pretentious when they are talking about what they are tasting.Robert Mondavi once said "I like wines that are easy to drink and not so damn serious". I think I feel the same way.

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