It has been a while since I have unleashed a good rant, so I figured with the Snowmaggedon bearing down on the mid-Atlantic, it was time to lighten my load a bit.
As many of you know, I have hosted a few wine tasting dinners at a local restaurant here in our little corner of the Cradle of Liberty. There are many aspects to hosting a wine dinner (which I have out lined HERE and HERE), not the least of which is pairing the wines with the courses. While in a perfect world, I would work in close concert with the chef, tasting the wines well ahead of time, discussing flavors and options.
In the real world, the menu is rarely set more than a couple of days before the event, long after the wines have been selected and ordered, and there are usually more than a couple changes even after the menu is “set.” Thus, I scramble, often at the last minute, to match the dishes and the wines.
I admit that the whole pairing process is both fun and frustrating: fun when it works out, frustrating when having to decide which of the two wines left to pair would go best with the newly added lake trout: the Zinfandel or the Petite Sirah.
It seems as though I am not the only one who finds pairing wines to be an enjoyable endeavor. In fact, in the wine geek world, pairings are all the rage. Wine writers wax poetically on the “perfect pairings” for countless dishes, often focusing on the conundrums: asparagus, artichokes, brussels sprouts, and Thanksgiving dinner.
But they do not stop there.
If you are willing to search a bit, you can find a blogger that has paired wine with just about anything you can imagine, and it has gotten a bit out of control.
First, there are foods that you would not normally consider pairing with wine:
Food and Wine actually does a rather good job with pairing holiday cookies since all the pairings are with sweet wines and although I have not tried them all, they do seem to work. Chocolate cookies and Banyuls? You bet.
Then things start to get a little ridiculous. Pairing wine with Halloween candy? If you are grabbing a Siduri with your Starburst or a Cakebread for your candy corn you either have a serious candy addiction, a drinking problem, or both.
Wine Enthusiast offers several pairings for movie theater snacks. I have yet to see a BYO movie theater, but even if they existed, other than champagne and popcorn, there was not a single pairing that made any sense (Twizzlers and a dry rosé? At least they did not suggest to bite off either end of the licorice and use it as a straw to drink the wine. Oh wait, they did.).
Wine Enthusiast also offers up wine pairings with movie genres (e.g., Sauvignon Blanc with Science Fiction), but there is no mention of what to do if you are eating Skittles (Chenin Blanc) while watching a Romantic Comedy (Beaujolais Cru).
Speaking of movies, there are also pairings available for each of the seven Star Wars movies as well as for each of the characters (Princess Leia: Blanc de Noirs Champagne, Luke: Barolo, Darth Vader: Cahors–I feel a drinking game coming on…).
After food, perhaps the second most popular pairing is music. I certainly enjoy pulling a few corks while listening to my collection of Lawrence Welk albums, but if I wanted to expand my musical horizons there are plenty of sites to help: Wine Enthusiast with musical genres, Meg Maker and Lisa Houston combine forces to pair wine with Operas, and Wine Enthusiast (again) pairs a wine with each of the tracks from Adele’s new album (personally, I would need a whole bottle of vodka to get through it, but…).
If it only stopped there.
There have been posts written about pairings with T.V. shows (House of Cards: Louis M. Martini Cabernet), More T.V. (Mad Men: Châteauneuf-du-Pape), Books (East of Eden: Malbec), Sports (MLB Baseball: Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio), Art (which I really tried to understand, but my head started to hurt), and even moods (feeling passionate? Grab a Pillar Box Reserve Shiraz, apparently).
There was even one moron who paired wine with other wine blogs. Talk about a guy needing a hobby….
The fastest growing “field” for wine pairings, however, has to be pairing wine with cannabis. That’s right. Google “Wine and Pot” or “Wine and Weed” or even “Wine and Marijuana” and you will see what I mean. (Here are a few: The Cannabist, Mary Jane’s Diary, Leafly.)
I thought about going through a few of the suggested pairings just to see how good the pairings were–you know, for research, but then I remembered that I have never smoked pot.