you planning a food and wine event, are you looking for a
fantastic wine recommendation for home or work, do you have
a strange pairing question that you need answering or perhaps
you just want to look a whole lot smarter than your F&B
Director or restaurant manager. Do you want to go to your
meetings or friend's homes prepared and ready to be wine savvy?
Then just click to ask
the wine guy...
I am looking for an inexpensive ($20) yet good wine that
will pair well with rosted chicken, roasted potatoes, fresh
green beans, and acorn squash (baked with honey and brown
sugar). A hearty, thick crusted italian bread will be served
as well. Suggestions?
If I wasn't hungry before I read your letter, which I was,
the adjective on the bread really pushed me over the edge.
Especially since my new restaurant does not serve any.
With the components of fowl, potatoes and squash I'm already
imagining a wine from the Rhone Valley in France. When you
add brown sugar to the mix I'm heading down South to the Southern
Rhone Valley thinking about a wine that has high percentage
of Grenache in the blend. There are two wines I'm currently
serving on my list that would match that style and price.
From France, Chapoutier "Belleruches" Cotes-du-Rhone 2000
or how about something from South Eastern Australia, Trevor
Jones "Boots" Grenache 2000.
What are the red wines that are served chilled and the white
wines that are served at room temperature?
Like many things in the wine world, or my family, personal
preferences play a big part.
The serving temperature does have a dramatic effect on the
taste and flavors of wine. The higher the temperature the
more of a wines aroma will appear. On the flip side making
a not-so-special wine cooler can make for a more enjoyable
taste as it hides aromas and alcohol levels.
When it comes to white wines the standard serving temperature
is 45-50°F. Though a truly complex white can really show
well up to 60 F. One example would be a grand cru white burgundy.
But if a wine passes the 68 mark it can become very unbalanced.
As for Red wines, wines with tannins traditionally are served
from 60-65°F. When the temperature gets lower their tannins/bitterness
are very noticeable. Lighter Reds can be served a little cooler
due to a higher level of acidity. A general guide would be
My father will only drink red wine chilled, sometimes with
ice, I've never
agued with him on the subject. I'll admit the ice part gets
under my skin but otherwise it is an ideal temperature for
his palette, so to speak!
Two of the recipes I plan to make for call for port, although
one calls for tawny port and one calls for ruby port. Can
I substitute one for the other?
Port is a fortified wine, which means it's fermentation is
ended when pure alcohol is added. That is why they are higher
in alcohol then still wine and sweeter, due to the fact there
is unfermented sugar left over.
Basic Ruby Port is the cheapest available. Though these often
see little or no time in wood, there are some Superior quality
ones that do see up to 4 years in wood. Tawny Ports are blended
wines that can be aged in wood up to 8 years but not all are.
So the answer is yes you can substitute. For your needs I
would suggest Ruby Port, but a quality product such a Graham's
Fine Ruby or if you want something really nice that you can
put with pride in a glass try their famous Six Grapes.
I have been thinking about buying a wine cellar. Really
one of the electric climate controlled type,(like a Haier
type it holds about 30 bottles)They are like a small apartment
refrigerator. Do I keep both reds and whites in it and what
temp. would I keep it at, to do the best for both wines.
Chuck, The old saying about a cellar is, how even many bottles
your cellar holds, you will end up buying 50% more then that
amount. I say this because 30 bottles is not that many. Some
people buy small refrigerators to have their whites and champagnes
ready to be at service temperature. Which I then would keep
the frig at 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If you plan to use the
cooler to cellar wines to be enjoyed years down the road,
keep both Reds and Whites in it at 52, but then the temperature
is only one part of the equation, humidity is the other. A
wine corks health is a crucial part to its aging potential.
I'm not sure if I'm answering or asking a question. Either
way my one piece of advice is to decide what your needs are
and then set the temperature.
What would you serve with beaujoliais nouveau for an open
house or a light, small dinnerparty?
I can't believe its already the third Thursday of November!
I was in this sub region of Burgundy earlier this year. I'm
a big fan of the Gamey grape and the wines are truly age worthy
as well as food friendly. Especially those from one of the
10 Cru Vineyards in the North. Beaujolais Nouveau is as about
as close to white wine as a red wine can get. Due to the way
it is made, the must is pressed after three days so the tannins,
normally found in red wines, are not there, leaving an easy
to drink, fruity wine. As for food recommendations I would
say, pate, pate, pate, cheese, cheese, cheese, with some baguette.
By the way, if you asked me what I was served during my stay
there I would also say, pate, pate, pate, cheese, cheese,
cheese, with some baguette! See you at midnight (official
For the past 10 years, I've been developing my knowledge as
an oenophile. However, recently I've noticed that about four
hours after drinking a 1/2 bottle or more, I wake up in the
middle of the night with a rapid heart beat (like I've had
a expresso). Seen my doctor and he isn't concerned. Have you
heard of this. Is there anything I can do, short of drinking
Not only am I not a Doctor, I've never even dated one!
Though I have heard of many different symptoms related to
wine from guests as well as myself.
To me it sounds as if it an allergy of some sort, I only say
that because I have had many people tell me of their own allergies
to wine as well as the reactions that they can cause.
As for myself, alcohol effects me in such a different way
then it did only 5 years ago. My problem is headaches the
next day, they are not hangovers in any way since I do not
drink in excess and in every other way I feel fine. The way
I combat my problem is to religiously drink an equal amount
of water to wine consumed.
Tell me if my remedy works for you!
I am serving an asian dinner.....some chinese and some japanese.........what
would you suggest for a wine? I think our guest prefer reds.
Is there a red you could suggest?
Champagnes or Alsatian whites are a tradition pairing with
Asian foods. What these 2 styles have in common is acidity.
Acidity works well in both matching the heat of some of the
spices and roots used but also to intensify the clarity of
flavors. So then thinking about your question of pairing a
red wine, I would think of one with acidity in its style.
Actually, Alsace does produce Pinot Noir, about 5%, mostly
for local consumption but some does come to the States. The
wine is normally very light in color, simple and straight
forward. Since we now are speaking of Pinot Noir, both Burgundies
from the Cote D'Or as well as Oregon Pinot's might be just
what your looking for. French producers which are not too
expensive, considering the current pricing structure that
is, are, Domaine Daniel Rion, Hubert de Montille, Louis Jadot,
and Michael Lafarge. As for Oregon wineries which I really
like are Ken Wright Cellars, Elk Cove, Ponzi, Rex Hill, Beaux
Freres, and Domaine Drouhin.
Enjoy the dinner Party, September 2002
Would like to purchase an extra-special cabernet type wine
celebrate our anniversary. Serving prime rib. Priced from
$50-100. What do you recommend? Thanks, Susie
This is the question I am asked the most by friends, family,
or co-workers. Sometimes I'll just stop by Sam's Wines & Spirits
(Hugh collection that does sell via the Internet, 312.664.4394)
and shop for people. I do this because with so many great
wines, not every store has every product or vintage, but might
have a bottle I didn't mention at a price I wouldn't imagine.
The great news is that we are in a buyers market and you can
get some unbelievable deals lately.
The last time I did pick up something for a friend with this
exact price range and request for a California Cab I found
a bottle of Heitz Wine Cellars "Bella Oaks" 1997 for $78.00.
I almost didn't want to give it up. The time before that I
also had a hard time parting with, Araujo Estate " Eisele
Vineyards" 1998 for $100. Again, if you can't find these 2
wines put some trust in a reputable local wine shop for a
recommendation, they need you business and love repeat customers.
But if you need me to stop on the way to work and pick up
something for you just let me know! But you would have to
come by the Ritz-Carlton, I hope you live close by.
I live in Washington,DC and went to a restaurant, Restaurant
Nora, and had a beautiful bottle of heidler thal novemberlese.
I can't seem to find it anywhere can you help me? Thanks,
Toni - I see you are a convert as well. I've heard from
many of my contemporaries of the upswing in sales of Austrian
white wines from Gruner Veltliner grape. These wines are dry,
crisp, with acidity and sometimes a mineral characteristic.
These adjectives all equal a great food wine. By the way,
the producer Weingut Ludwig Hiedler wines are very sought
after. His annual production is 8,300 cases and is known for
high quality products with hand care given thought the wine
The importer of this and many great wines is Terry Theise,
he has been featured in the Wine Spectator for his quality
imports and beautifully talented wife, Odessa Piper of L'Etoile
restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin. Terry's e-mail address is
Have fun shopping and buying,
A friend of mine brought me back from France a bottle of "bourgogne
epineuil domaine de l'abbaye 1999". Now the questions.....1)
Is this a good wine and what types of food would it go with?
2) I left the bottle in the car with heat(it was 80 outside
and the wine was in the car for 5 hours) and the cork broke
the seal and the cork came half out, (I pushed it back down
and refrigerated it after it got to room temperature) does
that mean I have to drink it now? Thanks, Lesley
Your gift is a wine from an interesting subregion of the Chablis
district in France. When labeled with the AOC Bourgogne three
types of wines can be produced from the land, White, Red,
and Rose. Epineuil is essentially a Red producing area. They
are primarily from the Pinot Noir grape vine but sometimes
have a blend of other grapes as well. They normally are straight
forward fruity wines and from top producers show outgoing
red fruit flavors.
I would recommend a game bird such as Guinea Hen or Quail.
I would try this wine as soon as possible and if you have
company over have a back up ready. I would not be surprised
if the wine was undrinkable at this point. The only thing
worse then heat, is if the wine in anyway would be exposed
to oxygen, so since the seal was broken that would begin the
Sorry for the bad news
Could you please suggest a wine in the range of $10-15
to accompany pepper crusted rare tuna steak?
I always respond to these question after Dining Room Service
is completed. Then I start to think about the food and wine
pairings in my head and I truly start to get hungry, which
I now am!
The dish seems to be well suited towards a white wine with
acidity. With rare Tuna I usually don't want very high acidity
but with the pepper crust there is a wide variety of World
wines that would work. Speaking of World wines at a good price
point it is time to open up an Argentina bottle.
The white wine they do particularly well and is very unique
to the region of Mendoza is the Torrontes grape, a producer
to look for is Santa Julia.
I am a regular reader of your articles,and find them very
useful and informative.With regards to wine pairing,I would
appreciate if you could give me some information about pairing
wine with desserts.
Thanks for the support, to be honest I'm really enjoying this
question and answer process. I think I'm learning more the
the people who are writing in.
As for Dessert and wine pairings. There are 2 ways to go about
the thought process. Sometimes you can think of the food stuffs
and match opposite flavors to accentuate the dessert. Or,
you can pair similar tastes to intensify the creation.
For an example, say the dessert your trying to pair with is
a liquid center Chocolate cake with caramel sauce and caramel
ice cream. I might thing of a Hungarian TOKAJI ASZÚ, "5 Puttonyos"
Oremus 1995, the sweetness would be there since it is a Botrytized
wine. The unique oxidized flavor would be an interesting contrast
to the smoothness of the Chocolate.
On the Other hand say you have a special wine dinner and the
dessert wine is a Sautneres, from France. With this example
you would want to match the flavors to compliment. Try the
wine and find out what shows in the glass, such as, tropical
fruits, burnt camel, honey and of course the high viscosity
(thickness of the liquid) of this style of wine. Then work
those flavors into the Dessert, such as on of En-Ming Hsu
recent Desserts for the last Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs
Dinner. My favorite Pastry Chef served a CARAMEL NAPOLEON
WITH VANILLA CUSTARD AND STRAWBERRY GELÉE, PIXIE TANGERINE
AND STRAWBERRY SALAD.
As long as we are on Dessert wines, if you haven't before,
try the semi-sparkling wine from Italy called Moscato D'Asti
with Fresh fruit. It a great summer time treat.
What foods would I prepare with Pouilly-Fuisse? I am looking
for appetizers or desserts.
Jane, Pouilly-Fuisse is a white Burgundy from the Maconnais,
which is the Southern part of France and immediately North
of the Beaujolais. The wines are from the Chardonnay grape
and are dry crisp wines with high acidity. Though like always
the producer matters greatly since some in the region use
oak and others do not.
For my palate, I'm not going to go into my usual tirade about
how I salivate over these questions, but I really enjoy shellfish
and smoked fish. Also, I've used them to pair with vegetables
on many occasions, such as asparagus, spinach and beets.
I'm not sure about desserts, but I can see the wine paired
with fromage. personally I would lean towards chevre cheese.
My Chef, Sarah Stegner, has really turned me on to a producer
in Indiana called Capriole Farms.
I am a culinary student at Johnson and Wales who is very
into wine and the whole wine culture. How do I get certified
as a sommelier and can you recommend any books on wine that
I should read.
I hate to say this but I have recommended the C.I.A. textbook,
but don't worry there are many others. The New Sotheby's Wine
Encyclopedia is a great reference tool and really strong on
Bordeaux. If pronunciation is important at this stage the
Wine Lover's Companion is very informative. But the best why
to buy wine books is like the rest of us, order a double shot
cappuccino and just look through the wine section at Borders,
it's my favorite way.
As for certification courses, there are many in America and
throughout the world. The one I was excited about and took
is probably the most recognized here in the States, which
is the Court of the Master Sommeliers. They have 3 levels,
the first is a two day program called the certificate course
and is a great way to get started, meet people, and develop
a base of knowledge to begin learning. The address is 1200
Jefferson St. Napa, CA 94559.
Personally, I think you need to read and taste equally. You
just can't get all the knowledge from a book. Also, always
remember what you've tried and what it tastes like. Save a
label or start a journal if you have too but that is the most
important advice I can give.
When you've graduated and are looking for a job (front or
back of the house) give me a call at the Ritz!
I am slow barbecuing a beef brisket. The flavors are chipotle
peppers, lime, cilantro, etc. What wines (red and white) would
compliment this meal?
Deborah, Again, some how it always happens that I read these
great questions at the end of dinner service and the description
are killing me!
As for this style of food, big flavors need big flavors. In
other words, I think you would need some wine of substance
to stand up to the components of this dinner. The first thing
that comes to mind is California most underrated varietal,
Petite Sirah. I say this because it is so unique to our country
but not really accepted or enjoyed. Maybe part of the reason
is because of the controversy surrounding the vine. I've read
that is really the Durif grape of France but there is also
the theory that it maybe an ancestor of Syrah after all.
Either way the wine is interesting, big, and with the right
food a perfect match. Probably the two most famous producers
in California are Sean Thackrey and Turley Cellars. Hold on
What exactly does the term strange wine mean?
John, I've read and used the phrase "Dumb Wine" which is usually
a reference to Red Bordeaux's. I've tried some strange wines,
and for that matter I've drank wine with some strange people
but I not sure if there is a catch meaning to that term. Have
you read it somewhere? Sorry for the non-answer,
How about a Spanish Albarino with tomatoes?
Cathy, I love your question, because I get to write about
something I really like to drink, Albarino's! The most famous
come from Galicia, which is in the Northwest corner of Spain.
The DO is called Rias Baixas, which has 3 subregions. We do
not see that much in the States, even though in the past 15
years the land growing the grape has multiplied by ten. The
growth has been from 300 hectares (750 acres) and today approaches
1,700 hectares (4,200 acres).
As for the wine itself, I think they can be world class food
wines. The wine is usual pale in color with a unique floral
perfumed characteristic with fresh and lively acidity. They
are made to drink young!
As for pairing with tomatoes, it would really depend on the
recipe. Tomatoes can be a tough match due to it's own acidity.
I would advise trying the wine and food together before serving
to a guest or just go for it and get other opinions. Some
of my favorite pairings with wine I brought up in an article
here at Global Chef's, it under pairing wine and tomatoes.
Now I dyeing to go home and open a bottle of the juice! June
What wine will go good with chicken marsala? I thought a chardonnay.
This question has really made me hungry. I also think a Chardonnay
would work, it would really help to be a crisper style. Another
way to go with this recipe is an Italian red. I think with
the rich qualities of olive oil, butter, mushrooms, chicken
stock and the addition of the sweetness it could really stand
up to a red with some acidity. A Chianti would work, I really
like the producers, Fattoria Valtellina and Isole e Olena.
Though I personally like the Dolcetto grape and think it would
be a winner, one of the best producers from Piedmont is Aldo
Marenco. Save me some!
I am planning to serve a salmon filet with an orange-ginger
sauce. What US wine that would be readily available on the
east coast would you recommend? I have in my cellar bottles
of Oregon pinot noir and pinot gris but am a little puzzled
by the orange-ginger sauce.
As I was reading your question, I also was thinking of an
Oregon Pinot Gris, honestly I was! As for the Orange-ginger
sauce, a version with more acidity would be important. As
for the wines in your cellar, this is the perfect time to
open something up.
If you wanted to try something a bit esoteric maybe something
from the Pinot AOC in Alsace. These white wines our not always
100% Pinot Blanc, many are a blended with Auxerrois. Of course
Zind-Humbrecht leads my list but also Josmeyer, Hugel and
Albert Mann make great versions.
Can you tell me if there is a Pouilly Fuisse Red or is
it excusively white?
Throughout the wine world all regions have adopted some sort
of Appellation system. These refers to an official geographically-based
designation. France started this idea in the 1930's and has
some of the stickiest laws pertaining to both wine and cheese.
This laws are called Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC)
and it in its simplistic form, it is to ensure that by seeing
a name on a bottle you will know it's style and quality.
Pouilly-Fuisse is within the The Maconnais which is a subregion
of Burgundy. It's AOC laws state that it is from the Chardonnay
grape. So the first answer would be no, there is no Reds with
that name. Why I mention AOC laws is because in the Maconnais
they do grow Pinot Noir and Gamey (both red varietals). So
if you were traveling through Pouilly-Fuisse I'm sure you
would see red vines growing, they just couldn't be bottled
with that label. They would probably be bottled as Macon AOC
or Macon Supererieur AOC.
Can you tell me what wine to pair with smoked ham...
When growing up my best friend down the block's Mother had
a different type of Smoked Ham for every occasion. Mainly
they were just sweeter or smokier as it turned to Winter.
So without tasting, I'm assuming, your family recipe I would
think of the following styles.
Alsace Gewurztraminer: I'll suggest the wines from
Domaine Weinbach (I just tried the new vintage last week),
both the Cuvee Laurence and Cuvee Theo were big, fat, rich
succulent wines which could easily stand up to the Smoked
Ham. Also, the regions Late Harvest wines, know as V.T., would
work but the sweetness level to the ham would be the deciding
Pouilly Fume: These smoky white wines from the central
vineyards of the Lore Valley, have a characteristic of gunsmoke
but at the same time they are very crisp with a gooseberry
flavor. If you can find the wines of Didier Dagueneau, he
makes his Sauvignon Blanc with lots of muscle.
My husband is not a wine drinker, but wants to have a glass
of red wine every day, as he has heard there are health benefits.
He does not like dry or bitter...prefers something sweet and
fruity. Can you suggest a red wine that he may like?
When I have had guests here at the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton
ask me this same questions these were my thoughts. A warm
weather Pinot Noir, maybe something from California's Central
Coast, such as Wild Horse. Also, I like and think the Gamay
grape should be considered, I know many people like to turn
their nose at Beaujolais Nouveau or Beaujolais-Villages but
it might just be the perfect wine for your husband. Now if
you really want to try something red and sweet go to your
local wine shop and ask for a Banyuls. This wine is from the
Languedoc-Roussillon in France and is usual a blended wine
with at least 50% being Grenache. It is deep in color and
rich in flavor, it is a famous pairing with Chocolate. I would
be very interested to find out what he thinks, so we all hope
to hear back from you and your Husband.
How long do you wait befor serving a Shiraz or a Cabernet
Sauvignon after you open them?
I put this same question to thought for many bottles with
Opening a wine early to let "breath" is best done with a decanter.
The more surface space of the wine that is exposed to oxygen
the quicker it will achieve desired results. As for letting
a wine aerate I think it is of personal taste. Some people
insist on tasting right when a wine is open to see how it
changes as it is in the glass. Others want as much time as
possible, especially when dealing with Cabernet, young and
old. As for myself I don't drink that too fast and would not
find it necessary to wait before pouring the Shiraz. As for
Cabernet, if it was 5 years or younger I would at least open
it 20 minutes before serving, as for an old Bordeaux, I am
from the camp of wanted to try it at every stage of development.
Which means I would want to savor the bottle over a 2 hour
In my experience certain wines have clearly shown much improvement
over a 3 to 4 hours of being open. Though this is a dangerous
practice because some wines will completely fall off with
that type of time span. Unless you buy a case of a wine and
drink one bottle every couple of years where you'll become
completely intimate with it's aging process, I would stay
away from taking a gamble with something special.
I would like to give a gift of late harvest wine as a gift
in a food basket and would like to add some cheese, fruit,
nuts etc. What specific things would go well with an Inniskillin
late harvest Riesling?
Dr. Thomson, I'm a new Canadian wine fan. I took a 4 day trip
to Vancouver on Sept 10 of this year and ended up there for
10 days. I had sometime to indulge in my favorite professional
pastime, trying wines. To be honest I think I did as much
drinking as tasting. By far the whites and sweet wines outshined
the reds I sampled. The Inniskillin wine really stood out.
I had noticed the advertisement of the winery in certain periodicals
and I tried a few things. The 3 wines I had were an icewine
from the Riesling grape, a Vidal hybrid, as well as a demi-sec
sparkling wine. The Riesling was a very rich, thick and sticky
sweet wine with a bit of acidity. As for foods to enjoy with
the gift I would think of dried apricots, fresh fruits, hickory
nuts and Blue Cheese. You might want to visit there website
Can you suggest any published resource on pairing wine
and vegetarian food ?If you think it's a good idea and you
write a book about it, let me know.
I do think it is a good idea Especially with the vegetable
trend here in my City (Chicago). When it come to pairing food
and wine I really enjoy cultivating a individuals wine preferences.
In other words finding what a guest likes and dislikes and
picking combinations with that information in mind. Like many
people I sure have my favorites and after awhile of exploring
you come to the conclusion, you never know!
A couple of books dealing with food and wine pairings that
I particularly enjoy or use for staff training our: Georges
Blanc The French Vineyard Table, Charlie Trotter's Vegetables
and the classroom style format used in the C.I.A.'s introduction
to Exploring Wine.
Can you tell me, why red wine is red? and white wine is
white? Thanks, Jocelyn
This is the analogy I've used to quickly explain the scenario
to a guests. Though the answer can be much more detailed if
In the Champagne region of France, producers use three grapes
in their Sparkling wine which are white in color. The three
are, Chardonnay (white grape), Pinot Noir (red grape), and
Pinot Meunier (red grape). So it is what a winemaker does
with those grapes in the winery that dictates the color.
The first step in winemaking, red or white, is to crush,
not press the grapes. Then for a red wine it is it's Maceration
time that creates the color. Maceration is the period during
which the juice is left in contact with the red grape skins.
The longer the contact time the deeper the color and greater
We are looking for suggestions for the proper wines to
serve with the following dinner. Appetizers-Olive spread with
walnuts on toasted baguette's, salad-baby greens and fruit
with lime vinaigrette, main-grilled sea bass with mango salsa,
lemon couscous with fresh spinach, dessert, white chocolate
mousse. Any direction you can give us would be appreciated.
Rockrimmon gourmet group, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Though to be a true romantic about wine, to properly choose
accompanying wines, little things are so important. First
and foremost the guest list, it always fun to pull something
from the cellar that you know one of the guest really likes.
Also, where the party is taking place, the weather, the china
the list can go on and on. But looking at the menu here our
Always Champagne to start: Krug would be great especially
to stand up to the olives but a Rose would work as well. 1st
Course: I think a white Burgundy would be ideal because
of the crisp acidity as well as the subtle notes in this style
of wine. You don't have to spend the "Big Bucks" on a Cote
D'Or bottle, The wines from the Cote Chalonaise and Maconnais
offer terrific food wines and at a value. A Saint-Veran would
be cool, I like the producer Thevenet or even a Pouilly-Fuisse,
Verget does a great job, Main Course: Call me crazy
but this looks like a perfect match for a Gewurztraminer from
Alsace. The spiciness of these wines would really compliment
the Bass and Mango flavors as well as they our rich enough
for the Spinach. Like every wine nut I can't help but recommend
almost and wine from Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, but also a couple
of other producers I really like are Schlumberger, Sparr,
and Josmeyer. The Best Part, Dessert: Something sweet
of course but a wine that has a little acidity to balance
it out is nice with Mousse so the combo isn't too overboard
sweet. A German Trockenbeerenauslese is always a treat but
if you want something in that style but maybe even better
for your item is an Austrian producer named Kracher his "TBA"
would be a serious change of pace.
After all of the writing about food and wine pairings I'm
really hungry! Keep in touch and tell me what you end up with.