I handle a lot of food and wine pairing questions at Binny's in Plainfield. I've heard it all. I'm having Maine Lobster tonight, I need a white wine around $8. I'm exaggerating...a little. In my experience with food and wine pairing, I found you have to know your wine. There are so many different styles of wines. Someone can't just say, pair your lobster with a Chardonnay. There are lighter, crisp Chard's and heavy, buttery Chard's. In your experience, do you plan a meal and then pick your wines or visa versa?
Food and wine pairings sometimes don't work. There is no scientific process for it, it's all about experience. Let's start out with a versatile, wine friendly meal.
You found a deal on some good salmon. How are you going to cook it? Grilled? Roasted? Sautéed? How about herbs, spices or other flavoring agents? Roasted salmon with lemon and dill is a classic dish. A lightly oaky, buttery Chardonnay will work nicely. I'm thinking Trefethen.
Trefethen uses all estate grown grapes from the Oak Knoll District in Napa. It's a well balanced wine with a lot of vanilla flavors and crisp acidity. This wine will compliment the salmon dish quite well.
If you're grilling with a dry rub, a lighter red wine will play nicely. Curry spice and Pinot Noir are great together. There are pleanty of Spanish Grenache and blends that will work well also. Look for Coto Hayas. It is a Grenache blend, and it is a great value.
Food and wine pairing is one of my favorite things to do. It does not work out all of the time. Ever experience an acidic burn in the finish of the wine? Adjusting the acidity of your food will help with counteracting this. If you get this feeling, squeeze some lemon juice or sprinkle some salt on your food. Doing this will tone down that warm feeling. Why does this happen? Pick up a cheap white wine and a lemon. Slice a wedge, and bite down. Take a sip of the wine. It does not taste like anything, right? A little bit of that acidity on your food will tone down the flavors and will help make your wine taste better.
What food and wine pairings have gone good or bad for you? Any pairings that have surprised you?