Wine, dine and...thank me later

Wednesday, 20 November, 2013
Shante Hutton,
Every month I aim to host a wine and food pairing evening that sets about unveiling the magic around the grape stuff and the morsels that pair so well with it.
Wine and food was where I started out and it's a habit, an addiction that I can't shake.
I must pair, whether it's a horizontal or a vertical pairing (if you want to know what those are, give me a call).
I've studied the ideas behind pairings such as weight versus weight and the whole 'white wine with white meat' belief which is rather dated.
I strongly believe that if people only knew how to pair wine and food properly, they would start drinking more.

I'm on a quest to indoctrinate all my friends and family into my food and wine mafia, from there, we shall take on the world...Well, that's only after a few glasses of vino.

This past Friday (15th Nov) we got up-close-and-personal with the following:

We started with three wines; Holden Manz Rose 2012, Kleine Zalze Gamay Noir 2013 and a Tempranillo from Checkers.

The first pairing is always designed to shake off any and all preconceptions.
A slice of lemon enters the scene and guests begin to pucker even before the tasting begins, "are you trying to destroy the wine for us?" someone whines. Oh ye of little faith.
I ask them to take a bite of the lemon and then a sip of wine and then to repeat with all three. Faces change, ideas are reversed. The wines I have picked are remarkably low in tannins and have enough acid to stand up to the lemon. This small slice of citrus brings out the fruit in the Gamay Noir and makes the Tempranillo more serious.

The second course consists of a slice each of gypsy ham and salami. Both of which should, in essence, pair with the wines chosen, according to pairing guides.
The ham brings out a smokey flavour in the Rose and the Tempranillo and the salami (wow), brings to the foreground the fruit of the Gamay Noir. Pairings made in heaven I can assure you.

The third course
, and we've already made believers out of most the guests, is a combination of three tartlets; tomato pesto and mozzarella, basil pesto, parmesan and tomato, salami and cheddar. High acid in all three canapes but nothing can knock these wines.
No longer must we just think of Sauvignon Blanc when we wish to eat tomatoes. No! Reach for a low tannin red from Spain or Italy, and you are good to go.

The Fourth course was designed with audience participation in mind.
I stated, on the invite, that I would be making a creamy pasta dish and wanted guests to bring a wine that they believed would go with it (winner would receive a bottle of Haute Cabriere bubbly). The dish, grown-up macaroni and cheese, was given a Fat Bastard Chardonnay, a Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir/Chardonnay, a Marianne wooded Sauvignon Blanc and a La Motte 1984 Cabernet Sauvignon.
The winner, by a show of hands, was the Chardonnay but, I'm a sucker for Cab and cream and strongly believe that to be the real saviour.

After that, things got a little messy (note the distinct lack of photographic evidence) but our findings remained cemented in our minds.
Now the challenge is to find other pairings that work and other ways to make drinking wine an even bigger and better experience.

The next wine and food pairing will be in December but already there have been spin-offs amongst our friendship circle. Here's hoping it's a pairing revolution.

Anyone got some awesome/crazy pairing ideas/combinations to try?