Stay Connected
What We're Drinking

 

Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it too.

Recent Videos

Tasting with Oliver Krug

Upcoming Events

We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

See all K&L Local Events

Archives
« Does a Leaky Capsule Always Indicate Bad Wine? A Mountain of Surprise... | Main | Bastille Day Special! A 3rd growth Splurge at the new French local »
Thursday
Jul172008

Food & Wine Pairings...There Are No Absolutes

According to K&L Champagne buyer Gary Westby there is only one food and beverage pairing that can be considered universal and absolute: pizza and beer. And while most everyone can agree that a refreshing pint and a cheesy pie go together like, well, pizza and beer, agreement seems to stop there. Opinions about food and wine pairings are as numerous and varied as there are wines. And it seems that all of the hubbub around the concept stems from one simple myth—that pairings are absolute. This struck me the other day when I stumbled across a thread on Serious Eats asking which wines would pair with: Pork, Beef, Lamb, Fish, Shellfish and Vegetarian food. As I started thinking about how to respond to this question I realized I didn’t have an answer. I couldn’t say, “Poultry pairs well with chardonnay,” or, more vaguely “…with a dry white wine,” because I think a bright, light-bodied red would be better with chicken Parmigiano. And I couldn’t say, “Drink a Muscadet with oysters” when, while it would be delicious with raw, briny Kumamotos and Malpeques, I’d prefer a weightier white Burgundy with my buttery, rich Oysters Rockefeller. Pairing food and wine can be as complicated or simple as you make it. You’re looking for something that complements your food, not something that gets lost or overpowers it. And it’s important to note than a wine pairing, no matter how elegant, only works if you like the style of wine in question. I personally believe personal taste trumps all the so-called rules about wine pairing. For instance, if somebody suggests a riesling with your spicy Khi Mao and you hate riesling, then it’s not the “perfect pairing” for you. That said, if you do like riesling, its balance of sweetness and acidity could turn an ordinary bowl of pan-fried rice noodles into a revelation. I tend to approach my wine pairings in one of three ways. Regionally I like pairing wines regionally because I find it simple and logical. Cuisines and winemaking traditions have generally evolved together, so it’s no surprise that they complement each other. If you’re having a dish that originated in the South of France, like cassoulet from the Langeudoc, pair it with a wine from the Languedoc, like a rustic Cahors (malbec) or Minervois. If you’re enjoying bread gnocchi try something from Italy’s Alto-Adige, where this style of dumpling has its foothold. While knowing some food geography can make pairing wines regionally easier, you don’t have to be a walking atlas to do it. If you’re cooking at home, tell your local retailer what you’re making and they’ll be able to help you find a good match. If you’re out to eat, ask the wine director or sommelier. Weight Ever wonder why people think foie gras and Sauternes go so well together? The wine’s weight is a major factor. Foie gras is rich and fatty so you want a wine that is rich, too, and Sauternes is known for its heavy, almost syrupy texture. Weight, in large part, is why you don’t find many people suggesting a lighter-bodied white to pair with heavy Porterhouse steak. The wine would get lost next to the meat. An easy way to understand weight is to think of cream, whole milk, low-fat milk and skim. Each has a different feel in your mouth, the texture ranging from heavy to light. If you pair a wine with a similar weight to the food, they should complement each other. And it’s important to take sauce into consideration. Weight is one of the reasons I’d rather drink a high-acid red with my chicken Parmigiano instead of a white. The earthy-sweet tomato sauce and gooey melted mozzarella cheese on the dish add weight that, while fine with a crisp trebbiano, cry for something more substantial. Acidity The other half of the success of the Sauternes/foie gras pairing is acidity. A good Sauternes has a lot of acidity, which helps it cut through the fat of the liver. Other wines that tend to go well with foie include gewürztraminer, riesling and sauvignon blanc—because they all have vibrant acidity. Drinking a rich, buttery California chardonnay might not work as well, because it offers no contrast to the foie and in the end both become washed out. Of course, like all rules pertaining to food and wine pairing the concept is not static. The authors of What to Drink with What You Eat offer this way of thinking about acidity: Imagine the dish you’re about to eat. Would it be something you would squeeze a lemon or lime on? If so, it will pair well with a higher acid wine. Is it something you would slather in butter? Pair it with a wine with lower acidity and a velvety or supple texture as opposed to something that’s described as crisp and bright. Whether you go for matchy-matchy when it comes to acidity or for contrast, whether you pair for weight or by region, remember food and wine pairings are endless. There’s no one thing to drink with your steak or with seared ahi. Break the rules. Be adventurous! And tell us what you think. —Leah Greenstein

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.