I have a couple of friends who told me they “don’t like wine” but claim to be “foodies.” I don’t believe in double negatives, so I conducted an experiment. I invited them over with the only stipulation being they leave the bottle of vodka at home. I have a hard time believing anyone doesn’t like wine. It’s the drink of the gods, liquid currency, ART! To be honest, if they didn’t leave my house with a new appreciation, it would be the last dinner we would ever share due to the fact that we obviously have nothing in common.
I decided to go all out for them by creating a stunning menu, intentionally revealing perfect balance. It must be said that the entire evening started out with giving my friends a leisurely tour of my custom wine cellar. There was no hum to be heard from my trusty wine cooling unit from Wine Guardian, since it’s so quiet; but the atmosphere had the obviously perfectly temperature for wine storage. The custom wine racking evoked oohs and aahs. With all duly impressed, we next went to my meticulously set dining table and got comfortably seated. The lighting was just right, to enhance the wining and dining experience.
As an appetizer, I served antipasti with Sauvignon Blanc. I started them with a “sweeter” wine to ease them into their experience. Dinner was salmon over a lentil beet salad paired with a rich Pinot Noir. We were literally scraping our plates and fighting over the last drops of pinot! Dessert was where I had to show off, of course. Lemon poached pears with Muscat de Beaumes de Venise from Domaine de Durban, because I AM a true connoisseur.
Now I am happy to report that those same friends are bigger wine snobs than me! They actually began to pair their wines ahead of time when they do their weekly meal prep, simplifying their work week while still enjoying the pleasures of wine and food marriages. My friends have also invested in wine cabinets, to keep their wine supply properly stored. My hope for them is to someday have a custom wine cellar of their own.
Everyone knows that wine goes great with blind dates, but they don’t realize that it can actually make food taste better. Magic happens when the tannins in the wine become attracted to the proteins in the meat, bypassing the proteins in your saliva, causing the wine to become a softer experience in your mouth. Flavors you would have never achieved take over when you simply sip smarter. Sometimes, you might have to fake it til you make it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great every time! Technology makes it too easy to get suggestions for what wines will complement your signature dishes. You do not need to be a sommelier or even a wine connoisseur to appreciate the miracles of combination.