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food and wine

The "White or Red" rule is so 1998..

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I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve seen staring at the wine list like they’re trying to decipher ancient Greek. “I’m having the scallops, but I only drink red”, they mourn.  “What do I do?” 

The idea that white wine goes with fish and red wine with beef is so painfully engrained, it seems like they’re doomed to settle… 

Niagara wineries are producing more and more amazing wines, mixing varietals in new ways, and using the latest tech (like the unreal optical sorter) to produce some unique options that blow people away.

Whether it’s personal preference, or a condition like a sulfite sensitivity, many people get trapped in a rut, or take the ‘safe’ route. “I hate Chardonnay” sometimes stems from the Oak-crazed Californians who went a little wild, and most people, who wouldn’t look twice at an un-oaked chardonnay, end up LOVING it in a blind tasting.

People who are hesitant to try reds, because they’re sensitive to the tannins (that bitter, cotton-mouth-feeling) can’t believe how awesome Pinot Noir can be!

Sometimes, ordering wine out of habit, or expectation takes over. 

When it comes to food and wine pairings, the old white/red rule is a ton of fun to break!

Start (or finish) with Sparkling: There is no wrong time for sparkling wine. Cuvee close. Brut, Sparkling Pinot. The refreshing effervescence and hint of sweetness make it a perfect pairing with anything salty, rich, or creamy. That covers pretty much any appetizer from charcuterie to shrimp. It also makes a perfectly unexpected alternative to dessert wine.

Think about the dominant flavor of the dish. That should give you a good starting place.

Cooking shrimp with a ton of lemon and garlic? Something like a Gamay, or pinot with light fruit notes, and some acidity will compliment, without overwhelming. If you’re making beef wellington, consider an oaked chardonnay, or a sauvignon Blanc, both of which have enough substance to stand up to that cut of meat.

Often in restaurants, the sauce, jus, or even garnish can contribute more to the overall flavor of an entree than the meat. A tomato based sauce calls for something equally acidic, like {insert wine}, if its cream based, or contains a rich stock, go with a {insert wine}

Consider the cooking method. Deep-frying?, Blanching? Grilling? The amount of fat in a dish will give you a clue as to how big and bold you can go. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blancs tend to be higher in alcohol. Syrahs, Cabernets and {wine} are great choices for richer dishes.

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