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Wine and Food Pairing - Flavor

Wine and Food Pairing - Flavor

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Published by applejak
As the American palate for wine and food,
separately and together, continues to evolve, savvy chefs and sommeliers are making sure that the pairings they offer are broad, deep and coherent.
They’re searching out more Old World wines to match today’s lighter, fresher fare, hosting wine dinners developed through kitchen-cellar collaboration, participating in special events and promotions showcasing
vintages beyond award-winning powerhouse wines and staying attuned to what customers really want.
As the American palate for wine and food,
separately and together, continues to evolve, savvy chefs and sommeliers are making sure that the pairings they offer are broad, deep and coherent.
They’re searching out more Old World wines to match today’s lighter, fresher fare, hosting wine dinners developed through kitchen-cellar collaboration, participating in special events and promotions showcasing
vintages beyond award-winning powerhouse wines and staying attuned to what customers really want.

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Published by: applejak on Aug 19, 2009
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08/30/2012

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 Andrew Sutton, chef at Disney’s Napa Rose,notes that as American cookery employs lessbutter and cream, wine pairings are turningaway from the usual fruit-forward matches.
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 www.flavor-online.com
Spring 2009
FLAVOR 
THE MENU
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A
s the American palate for wine and food,separately and together, continues to evolve,smart chefs and sommeliers are making sure thatpairings are broad, deep and coherent.They’re searching out more Old World wines to matchtoday’s lighter, fresher fare, hosting wine dinnersdeveloped through kitchen-cellar collaboration,participating in special events and promotions showcasingvintages beyond award-winning powerhouse wines andstaying attuned to what customers really want.
DEFLECTING FRUIT BOMBS
Chefs and sommeliers are putting less emphasis on old-fashioned wine dinners, especially those where acelebrated vintner might appear before a handful of gueststo unleash massive, potent Cabernets and Chardonnays;the rich vanilla oakiness of these wines often forces chefsto reach for the butter to help dishes stand up to a wine’sfruit-bomb intensity.“The biggest change in the past 10 years has been thepalate of the average guest,says Andrew Sutton,executive chef of Napa Rose at Disneys GrandCalifornian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort inAnaheim, Calif.American cookery is now far less reliant on cream andbutter; Sutton estimates that his sauces use 70 percentstock and only 30 percent butter these days, much lessthan when he trained, more than two decades ago. As aresult, intense, concentrated and fruit-forward New Worldvintages, while still attracting lots of praise, are taking aback seat to wines that make more harmonious matches.Michael Jordan, master sommelier and general managerof Napa Rose, recalls the not-too-distant past, when “youcouldn’t give away the great European wines in SouthernCalifornia. All [customers] wanted was oaked Chard andCab; that was the limit of their taste and experience.But now that Americans are better traveled and moreaware of the world of international flavors, they expecttheir restaurants to reflect a worldview, in terms of bothcuisine and wines, Jordan says. Meanwhile, sommeliers areturning away from classic, rote matches that actually maynot have worked.
EXPLORING NEW REGIONS
For some restaurants, building a pairing program withspecial dinners works to keep the kitchen and servers freshand to build guest loyalty and traffic. Every Thursday,Castagna, a Mediterranean restaurant in Portland, Ore.,explores lesser-known wine areas of the globe and winesfrom smaller organic and biodynamic producers, bothdomestic and international, who work with traditionalgrape varieties. Each wine is accompanied by a dish fromthe same region, offered as a four-course menu or a lacarte. Flights are priced at $15 for three 2-ounce pours.
BEVERAGE STRATEGIES
Chefs, sommeliers and winemakers look beyondcolor-coding to create worldly, taste-drivenmatches for food and wine
BY JACK ROBERTIELLO
 NEWParameters
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PAIRING
 
FLAVOR 
THE MENU
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The menu for a recent dinnerthat focused on Austria includedbouillon with nettle dumplings,paired with a pale, crisp GrünerVeltliner; a chanterelle and mâchesalad with Zweigelt, a red with abit of bite; and a Rouladen withred cabbage and spaetzle,partnered by a spicy Blaufränkisch.Castagna’s Monique Siu, incharge of the front of the house,says the pairings evolve naturally due to therestaurant’s culinary concept.“We feature traditional European dishes onour menu, and often they seem to go with thewines that they grew up with,” she says. “It’s aregional focus more than, say, trying to tastethe wine and figure out the perfect dish andsauce to go with it. It’s more about matchingregional dishes and wines and serving themtogether.”Siu also uses the dinners to showcase wineson the list and to try different items fromvintners the restaurant already features.Looking for a more creative promotionthan the winemaker dinner, Jeff Groh of TheHeathman Restaurant & Bar, also inPortland, Ore., came up with the DuelingSommelier Dinner Series.“This gives us the opportunity to present awidearrayofwinesthatpeoplehavenevertriedand may never have wanted to try,” he says.Since the wines are served “blind,”customers judge strictly on how well they gowith each course, without knowing the makeror even the varietals. Broadening their winehorizon serves a selfish purpose, says Groh:“The last thing a sommelier wants to do is sellthe same wine over and over again; that willjust make us obsolete.”
SEASONAL GUIDES
While some restaurants depend on a culinarycore to guide wine pairings, for others, that’snot an option.“Food-and-wine pairing is an interestingchallenge at Aquavit, because Scandinaviahas no wine culture to speak of and notraditional wine cuisine,” says Sean Kerby,beverage director at Aquavit restaurant in New York City. “This creates the opportunityto look at sundry appellations to find winesthat complement our distinctive cuisine.”Kerby’s overall approach at the occasionalwine dinners Aquavit hosts is to work withthe restaurant’s seasonal menus.“Just as I cannot go to a winemaker and askfor a specially made wine for a particular dish,
BEVERAGE STRATEGIES
Sommelier Derek Georgeexpanded weekly tastingdinners at The Lodge in Vail, Colo., to includesake, beers and other spirits, based on eachcourse’s distinct flavors.
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