9 Flavor Combinations to Keep in Your Back Pocket When Pairing Wine with Food

Use this sommelier’s toolkit for basic taste and texture combinations next time you’re planning a dinner party or ordering a bottle out.

Edited Extract from This is not a Wine Guide by Chris Morrison, Murdoch Books, US $23.99

 

“Food unlocks wine,” Morrison says.

 

Planning food and wine matches requires a few basic tools, namely a collection of ‘one–two’ combinations that will help you find the right wine for the food, occasion and company. Learning these tools can give you so much more confidence when a wine list and menu are thrust into your hands, or when you are planning a dinner party at home.

Acid and Acid

Acid can be used in many ways. If a cheese has high natural acidity (like those made from goat’s milk, for example), then a high-acid wine such as a fresh, crisp Sauvignon Blanc – especially one from the Sancerre region of France – is the best partner.

Acid and Sweet 

While high-acid wines work well with salt and fat, the same can’t be said for sweetness. In a wine, acidity and sweetness are vital and complementary components. One keeps the other in check. With food and wine, I rarely go here.

Acid and Salt

Hot chips (fries), which are all about fat and salt, go brilliantly with sparkling white wines that show strips of acidity. Acid counterbalances salt, but it cuts through fat as well (see Fat and ‘Cut’ below).Think of a squeeze of lemon over battered, deep-fried fish, seasoned with a bit of salt, and you’ll see what I mean. Creamy, salty oysters are fantastic with acidic white wines. What you get in these examples is a basic equation of acidity + fat + salt at work and it’s a magic, fail-safe combo. Plus, in this scenario, the wine’s mouthfeel will change; it will become rounder and appear fruitier. Also try salty, cured meats like prosciutto with high-acid reds like Pinot Noir.

Fat and ‘Cut’

Fat carries flavors in food, but isn’t a flavor itself – it’s just a vehicle. Fat in food gives an unctuous, warming, enriching note. Cutting fats is the job of acidity and tannin in wine. Chefs work with different kinds of fat—butter, olive oil and lard, for example—and each type needs the acid in wine to ‘cut’ the fat in your mouth. Essentially, fat in food can build up in your mouth and literally clog your tastebuds. Acidity and tannin act like a windshield wiper that

swooshes across the tongue, stripping out the fat and rebooting your palate. Acid and tannin lift the flavors and minimize the sensation of fat in your mouth. When a wine is described as being ‘refreshing,’ this refers to the sensation you get

when acidity and tannin clean out the fats around your taste buds. Remember, all wine has some level of acidity, but tannin is mainly found in red wine. How much you need, whether the wine is light-, medium- or full-bodied and what color it is, comes down to the level of fat in the dish.

Go for white wines like Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chenin blanc or skin contact-rich white for pink-fleshed fish. These will soak up fat and oil like a sponge. Reds can be Gamay, Pinot noir, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Malbec, Tempranillo, Rosso di Montalcino, Mourvèdre, cool-climate Shiraz (Syrah), or something quirky like Nerello Mascalese.

Protein and “Grip” 

The drying sensation in your mouth that you experience when you drink a wine is caused by tannins.The reason your mouth dries out is because your saliva is largely made up of protein molecules and, when tannins in wine come into contact with saliva, those tannins run straight to the salivary glands at the back of your palate, literally sucking them dry. And when protein and tannin combine, the tannins will drop out of the wine and the texture suddenly softens, revealing more of the wine’s fruit character. The rule with tannins is to ensure that the concentration of them in the wine matches the intensity of the fat and protein in the food. Essentially, you need protein to soften tannins. The ‘bigger’ the tannins in the wine, the bigger and more dense the proteins need to be. In food, those proteins will taste almost sweeter and more flavorsome.

One of the words I love to use when discussing food and wine together is ‘grip.’ This refers to the level of tannin in a wine‚the more tannin, the greater the grip. Big pieces of protein work with wines that have a lot of grip—wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Mataro or Shiraz, for example. Smaller pieces of protein need wines with less grip, such as Gamay, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and Grenache. Skin-contact white wines will carry some astringency and bitterness. Drink them with fatty white proteins like pork or roast chicken and the bitterness will slip away, making the wine fresher and more flavorsome.

Oak and Lactic

Lactic flavors, such as those derived from butter and cream, are super with wines made with, or stored in, oak. Working in French kitchens for so long, I learned to appreciate the way butter can be used as an accepted flavor enhancer. A good portion of the full-bodied white category on any wine list I oversaw, leaned towards a style enriched with the creamy textures and buttery mouthfeel you get from contact with oak.

Sweet and Heat

Hot food is famously difficult with full-bodied wines, as tannins in particular will magnify the effect of heat in food. Light bodied wines are best. With fragrant, spicy dishes, white wines with a touch of sweetness can reduce the perception of heat. Likewise, rich red protein-based dishes like beef or lamb curries suit light-bodied, fruity reds.

Sweet is attractive with salty flavors—think of salted caramel, for example. I see the combination of sweet and salt used a great deal in food. Sweetness in wine will enhance saltiness in food—for example, we know how melon accentuates the salty, savory characteristics of prosciutto. A fruity Riesling with a Thai or Vietnamese dish with fish sauce is fantastic.

Savory and Savory 

From a wine perspective, savoriness is my favorite character in food to work with. It’s generally found in foods with a salty or spicy character that aren’t overly sweet. If you take the weight and texture of food with savory characteristics, then you are automatically looking for light- to medium-bodied wines with delicate, sweet fruit flavors, little oak but with soft and savory tannins. Wines partnered with savory dishes should linger in the medium-bodied spectrum. They should be wines that are versatile and that literally ‘shape shift’ when you get the balance between texture and basic taste right. Avoid wines with high tannins, oak levels and alcohol. Wines with soft tannins and relatively high acidity work best. Remember when you taste the wines to make sure that behind all that acid and tannin there sits a good level of fruit character. Wines with an oxidized character work well, too, as they carry high levels of umami, which is great with savory food.

To Read the Original Food&Wine Article, Click here! 

Satterfield’s Presents Summer Wine Series: Tastes of Spain, Argentina, and Chile

Please join us for a taste of Spain, Argentina, and Chile! 

$45 per person including tastes of wine and hors d’oeuvres, but excluding tax and gratuity.

For your tasting pleasure, we will be serving:

Mendoza Cabernet Franc Reserva (2014) Cava La Cuvee (2013)

Valle del Elqui Pedro Ximenez {2016)

Penedes Bianco Selecci6 (2016)

Yecla Monastrell (2014)

The New Star of Your Next Backyard Party: Refreshing Summer “Session Cocktails”

What are “session drinks”?

Low-alcohol drinks for any occasion.

Out with the Old, In with the New: Bamboo Too

The Bamboo, created in the 1890s in Japan and a regular on American menus by the turn of the 20th century, is made with sherry, dry vermouth, simple syrup and a mix of Angostura and orange bitters. 

Combine 1 1/2 oz. each dry sherry and dry vermouth with 1/2 oz. Campari in a cocktail shaker. Add a few ice cubes. Stir until chilled, then strain into a coupeglass. Twist 1 strip of orange peel over the drink to squeeze out the essential oils, then garnish with it. Serving size, 1 drink, less than 120 cal.

 

The Ultimate Refresher: Pimm’s Spritz

In the 1840s James Pimm, the exalted landlord of an oyster bar in London’s financial district, invented and marketed it as a health tonic. The mixture became so popular over the next decade that Pimm then began selling his top-secret concoction commercially and then globally as the fingers of the British Empire reached into India, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean.

Muddle 1 halved slice of cucumber with 1/2 tsp. sugar in a cocktail shaker. Add 1 1/2 oz. Primm’s No. 1 liqueur, 1/2 oz. lemon juice and ice. Shake well, then strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with 1/2 cup club soda and stir to chill. Garnish with a cucumber slice, a lemon slice, and fresh mint, if desired. Serving size, 1 drink, less than 120 cal.

 

A Cure for the Summer Heat: Basil Caipirioska

Caipirinha (a Brazilian cocktail made with cachaça (pronounced “cah-cha-za”), lime or lemon juice, sugar and crushed ice) isbelieved to have originated in São Paulo towards the end of World War I. It’s original recipe consisted of cachaça, green lemon, honey and garlic and was initially prepared as a medicine to ease the effects of the Spanish Flu.

Muddle 2 lime wedges and 3 fresh basil leaves with 1 tsp. of simple syrup in a rocks glass. Add 1 1/2 oz. vermouth bianco, 1/2 oz. vodka and ice to fill the glass. Stir to chill. Top with 1/2 cup club sodaServing size, 1 drink, less than 120 cal.

 

Escape the heat and enjoy one of our many cocktails. We have a wide selection of alcohol supplying our talented bartenders waiting to serve you!

 

Source: Eating Well (July/August 2018), “Drinks You’ll Remember”.

Satterfield’s Presents Summer Wine Series: Tastes of Italy

 

July Summer Wine Series Invite

 

Please join us for a taste of Italy presented by United Johnson Brothers with Michael Goldstein!

 

$45 per person including tastes of wine and hors d’oeuvres, but excluding tax and gratuity.

 

For your tasting pleasure, we will be serving:

Santa Cristina, Toscana Cipresseto Rosato (2016)– Notes of raspberries and wild strawberries compose a fresh and aromatic bouquet on the nose. The palate is soft, balanced, and with a long and fruity finish and aftertaste.

 

Pieropan, Soave Classico (2015)- Brilliant yellow straw in hue with a greenish tint, the wine opens with delicate aromas reminiscent of almond blossoms, marzipan, white peach and honeysuckle. On the juicy palate, crisp acidity frames flavors of toasted nuts, lemon zest, pomme fruits and apricot. Exceptionally balanced, the wine concludes with a lingering finish that offers both length and concentration, wrapping up with delicious notes of honeycomb and marzipan, energetic minerality, and creamy lift.

 

Feudi di San Gregorio, Fiano di Avellino (2016)– Golden yellow with brilliant green reflections. aromas reminiscent of the Mediterranean with fresh flowers, chamomile, yellow peach and candied orange.  of the softness of the vine that are supplemented by freshness and minerality.

 

 Allegrini, Valpolicella Classico (2016)– A fresh, fruity red with lemon, dried-cherry and raspberry aromas and flavors. Medium body, bright acidity and a clean finish.

 

Bruno Giacosa, Barbera d’Alba (2015)– Expressive aromas of red fruit, black cherry and spice notes are matched with a fresh, lively mouthfeel and delicate acidity on the finish.

Advice for Choosing the Right Wine for a Present

There is always an occasion around the corner that calls for celebration. Birthdays, house warmings, bridal showers, graduations, and professional promotions mean presents! Here are a few tips on choosing the right wine, no matter the occasion.

 

Season should be the #1 reason.

Pay attention to the time of year. Lighter, fruity flavors for Summer and Spring.

 

Keep the recipient in mind.

Picture his/her taste and personality. Does s/he have a sweet tooth? Choose a dessert type wine. More conservative? Choose a sparkling or lighter red wine.

 

Don’t get distracted by the appealing label or bottle design.

Make a thoughtful decision based on the preceding advice. Labels do not always accurately speak to the quality and taste of what’s inside the bottle. Be sure to stick to mid-range prices and consult an expert.

 

Not on a budget? Buy more than one bottle.

If you do not have a set budget or you are buying bottles with friends, variety is best. Pick a few bottles and arrange them in a gift basket/box. This way, you will offer a wider range of flavors and s/he gets to pick their favorite (be sure to take a mental not for next time you plan on purchasing wine for him/her).

 

Visit our menus to view the current wine list at Satterfield’s. We have knowledgable bartenders and servers to assist you in choosing the right wine for your dinner, dessert, or mood!

Satterfield’s Presents Summer Wine Series: Tastes of France

Please join us for a taste of France with International Wines & CraftBeer!

 

We plan to pour a sparkling Crémant, a Muscadet, a Beaujolaise, a white Burgundy, and a Cotes du Rhone.

 

Crement (sparkling): made with the same technique as Champagne, but from outside the Champagne region.

Muscadet: made in the region around Nantes, taste of melons and tree fruit, a traditional partner to raw shellfish. They are also ideal partners to seafood salads and lighter fish dishes that tend toward the briny side of the spectrum.

Beaujolaise: meant to be enjoyed young, and often benefit from a slight chill, making it a great option for warm-weather red wine.

Burgundy (white)unoaked simple wine with mineral and apple notes.

Cotes du Rhone: one of the largest appellations in all of France, it’s also one of the oldest. Meant to be enjoyed on release, majority of Cotes du Rhone wine do not require aging.

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Tips for Wine Pairing with Veggies

With Spring in the air and Summer quickly approaching, vino and vegetables will more than likely become a regular part of most dining experiences. The general wisdom is that one should pair white wine with fish and reds with meat, but what about wine pairing with vegetables?

 

Light, Bright, & Dry Flavors

  • Dishes Featuring Citrus flavors, Squash, Asparagus, & Earthy Herbs (tarragon, parsley, and dill)
  • Pairs With Dry Whites: Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc

 

Blush & Dry Flavors

  • Salads or Dishes Highlighting Strawberries, Beets, & Radishes
  • Pairs With Dry Rosé

 

Red & Big Flavors

  • Dishes With Elements of Blackberries, Plums, Swiss Chard, Watercress, & Nasturtium Pesto
  • Pairs With Cabernet Sauvignon

 

When in doubt, simply remember the color of the wine and the color of the vegetable should be similar! 

Here’s one of our veggie-centric dishes. We have a fine selection of wines just waiting to be paired with locally sourced produce! Call us today to make a reservation.