This blog aims to make wine a little more approachable. Amateur winemaker, Ryan O'Donnell talks about winemaking techniques, tasting experiments, events, gadgets and more. This is Ryan's exploration of all things wine.
Category: Food and Restaurants
My wife and I were having a wonderful 5-course dinner with wine pairings for each course at an Italian establishment in New Orleans. It was perfect until we came across one wine - Dolcetto d'Alba. We both took a big sniff and gave each other a look of disgust. We flagged the waiter and told him the glass of wine was off – smelled like a wet dog and band-aids.
"That’s what it's supposed to smell like. Try it with the dish. The food compliments the wine."
What kind of food compliments wet dog and band-aids? And more importantly, why does the chef feel the general consumer would enjoy that? The dish itself was very enjoyable. We turned the wine away and asked for a different glass of wine – one we had with our previous dish.
The characteristic of wet dog and band-aid is from long-named bacteria otherwise known as “brett”. This funky stuff attacks the vines forcing the berries concentration levels to soar. Too much though causes some undesired results.
Some people really enjoy brett-flavored wine. I, for one, can’t stand it. Wine is made from fruit and should represent fruit flavors not aromas and flavors you would otherwise use Fabreeze to cover up if your living room smelled of it.
You might have found that food and wine, when paired together, can be an incredible duo. If you’re at a restaurant where they offer wine pairings – try it! I highly recommend it. Anywho, these pairings are usually done with fancy dishes with loads of complex flavors or dishes that you would normally never make at your own home.
At our home, we’re a bit more…simplistic with our food and wine pairings. Here are some of my favorites:
- Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich: Pepperwood Grove Chardonnay $5
- Pepperoni Pizza: Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel $8
- Chicken Pot Pie: Luna Pinot Grigio $11
- Macaroni and Cheese (boxed or frozen): Louis Martini Cabernet $10
- Trader Joe’s Bean Burrito: Montes Malbec $8
As you can see, we’re by no means fancy people but we’re always enjoying a glass of vino even with the least fancy meals. Don’t save wine for Fridays. Pop the top on a Tuesday and enjoy!
I love food. However, I’m one of those people that enjoys eating the food – not preparing and cooking it. So naturally meals at our home are either incredibly simple or non-existent. If you were to look in our kitchen, you wouldn’t find much. You would find wine though!
Of all the concoctions we’ve slapped together and called a meal, my absolute favorites are the most simplistic:
- French bread, a little EVOO and a bottle of wine
- Sharp cheddar cheese and a bottle of wine
- Alluette garlic spread, water crackers and a bottle of wine
Are you seeing a pattern here? Don’t worry. I’ve reserved a quaint couple’s suite at the Betty Ford Clinic. But seriously, the pairings couldn’t compliment each other better so why fight it. Just make sure you have plenty of food so you don’t get too sloshed during the week!
Have you ever made wine from grapes of kits?