I’m not a master sommelier, or even an alcoholic, I just love wine and am fascinated with it; the history of it, the making of it, the whole story of it.
The world is full of interesting wines – something for every taste and any occasion. Over the “quiet season” ahead, I will be building a wine reference, writing a collection of general and specific articles to help you learn more about specialties in the Lagniappe Wine Gallery and wines in general. I am also pleased to be contributing the forthcoming articles as a regular columnist here in Door County Chefs Magazine.
Some Basic Wine Considerations:
The lighter bodied and crisp wines grow in the cooler climates such as Oregon and Germany. The fuller bodied wines grow in the warmer areas.
The more important grapes can be divided by color and include:
Riesling – light, crisp, can be dry to sweet
Sauvignon Blanc – medium-bodied, herbaceous and dry
Chardonnay – full-bodied, can be creamy, nutty and smoky
Pinot noir – delicate red, acidic, soft and jammy
Cabernet Sauvignon – blackcurrant, tannic, medium-bodied
Syrah or Shiraz – rich, full – bodied, fruity
Then there’s pinot gris, chenin blanc, gewurztraminer, merlot, malbec, zinfandel, and pinotage to name just a few more… There are so many wines to try, so many experiences waiting to be uncorked.
People have been making and drinking wine for thousands of years. We even read about wine in The Bible. And who can forget Bacchus, the Roman god of wine in classical mythology? Did you know that one of the main reasons the English colonized Virginia was to grow grapes and make wine? They were at war with France and really wanted to be able to import wine from their own colony. Each family was given grape vine stock and ordered to plant them and produce wine. Most of the vines failed to grow and what they did manage to produce was terrible. Fortunately, wine making all across America has vastly improved in the past couple hundred years.
It says, “The pairing of wine and food is not complicated… I find Chardonnay complements leftover peanut butter and jelly triangles just as well as it does macaroni and cheese.”
Wine has a real affinity for food. The right match between a wine and food makes each one become so much more. The “rules” are only guidelines to help you find a great combination.
Basically, you don’t want one to overpower the other, so go with lighter wines with lighter foods and heavier wines with heavier foods. The Germans drink their Rieslings with just about anything, and Italian cooks will usually grab a village wine from the neighborhood to go with their creations.
Don’t let wine scare you! Just jump in with both feet. Wine exists for your enjoyment. It’s a wonderful world to explore. Where else would doing your “extensive research” be so much fun?
Joyce Adent is owner and operator of the Lagniappe Wine Gallery located in Fish Creek at Top of the Hill Shops, Unit B-16 which features an extensive inventory of more than 100 boutique wines in a wonderful, open and airy Door County atmosphere.