Over the last two weeks, I’ve explored two challenging wine pairings: artichokes and asparagus. This week, I decided to look at the other foods that are considered to be challenging wine pairings. I found so many challenging foods that I decided to split this into two articles.
Thanks to these sites for their WINEderful insights:
Challenging Wine Pairings: Smoked Dishes
concaytoro.com gives a warning that wines with smoky notes taste too smoky when coupled with smoky dishes. They recommend pairing aromatic varieties with smoky dishes. They suggest an aromatic Pinot Grigio with smoky fish and cheese dishes and an aromatic Pinot Noir with sausages.
Challenging Wine Pairings: Spicy Dishes
Hot spices accentuate tannins and alcohol in wine, making them more aggressive. Concaytoro.com offers a good explanation: “The wine increases the burning sensation on our palate. It’s like putting out gasoline on the fire.” The answer to is to pair sweet wines with spicy dishes. The sweetness mitigates the spiciness, and the spiciness diminishes the sweetness. It’s a match made in heaven.
Challenging Wine Pairings: Tomatoes
Why are tomatoes so challenging? Their high acidity and sweetness can cause big problems. So what is the solution? A number of pairing experts recommend a dry Rosé with a healthy amount of acidity.
Challenging Wine Pairings: Marinated, Pickled, Fermented and Vinegared Foods
The flavor of these foods is so intense that wine pairing can be very challenging. According easyfoodandwine.com, “the etymology of the word vinegar is from the French, vin aigre, or sour wine. When good wines go bad, they can turn into vinegar – so not too surprising then that they don’t help showcase a wine’s charms. Tart and acerbic, vinegar can make a wine seem like it has started to sour too.” The solution: A high-acid wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, Champagne or Cava. According to Learn.winecooldirect.com, “Champagne and Cava both have super high acidity that provides the perfect foil for vinaigrette. Grapes for these sparkling wines are harvested early, before acid levels fall and balance out with the sugars developing in the ripening grapes. The refreshing effervescence also marries well with the lively acidity of vinaigrette.”
Challenging Wine Pairings: Eggs
According to concaytoro.com, “Eggs have an intense aroma and flavor, especially hard-boiled eggs.” But whatfoodwhatwine.com says that wine writer Fiona Beckett claims that there are a number of wines that pair well with eggs. In spite of the fact that “the egg yolk is known to coat the whole palate and leave little room for any other flavour.” Beckett says that sparkling wine works well with scrambled eggs and souffles. Fiona goes on to recommend full-bodied whites with rich dish like eggs benedict.
The Most Challenging Wine Pairing: Mint
If you’ve read my articles on my Girl Scout Cookie wine tastings, you know that our biggest challenge is finding a wine that is “acceptable” with Thin Mints. I say acceptable because anything beyond that would be a miracle. For some reason, mint is incredibly difficult to pair with wine. If you ever find a wine that you truly enjoy with wine, please let me know!
I would love to hear your ideas about wine pairings for these challenging foods. Next week, we’ll cover a few more of these challenging foods.
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