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Veblin Goods in Wine and Whiskey.
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Author’s Corner at Kosherfest 2013
Kosher Wineries in Israel
Wine and Cheese Pairing Chart
Kosher Wine Pasteurization and Mevushal
What makes wine kosher?
Winery Profiles
A Wine Critic
A Spirited Trip to Scotland
Acknowledgement for Fruit of the Vine
20 value wines for 2013
Food Paring
Wine and Passover
Wine and Purim
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Food Paring

 

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Food Paring

Much has been written about recommended wines with foods, but nowhere is the word “guide” more appropriate. Remember, good wine is wine you like. Dry wine, for example, is not typically for the novice. It is considered an acquired taste. Some never get it, and that is fine. Since this is a guide to kosher wines, I liken it to gefilte fish, in that those who do not grow up eating it typically need to acquire a taste for it. So an obvious question might be: How come no one ever needed to acquire a taste for French fries or potato chips? When you figure that out, let me know. There are plenty of semi-sweet and semi-dry wines that will go very nicely with many food parings, so don’t feel compelled be constrained by a bunch of silly rules. Laws are to be followed. Rules can sometimes be bent or even broken. Often the wine label is a good source of information here.

In my book I have included specific food pairing recommendations, by grape varietal, here are some general guidelines:

1. Dry red wines are typically served at room temperature. They are a good accompaniment with rich, full-flavored, spicy, or savory foods like duck and lamb, beef, or strong cheeses. The tannins from the grape skins in red wine do not typically work well with fish oil so it is not recommended.

2. White wines are usually served chilled and go well with fish or chicken or mild cheeses, which might be overpowered by a big red wine.

3. Desert wines should typically be sweeter than the desert. This would include food like sweet blintzes. Natural sweetness is far better than added sweetness like as can be found with Concord grape wine.

4. Champagne (almost always served chilled) is great with fruit or chocolate and can be enjoyed at any time of the day (including breakfast) if your wallet and schedule can accommodate it.


The wine that goes best is the wine you like. The key is balance. Wine and food should compliment but not overpower each other.

• Neutral Foods – Best with fine wine. Enjoy the complex character and nuance of the wine.

• Steak and savory foods – the rule here is that this should be teamed with a big, full bodied, tannic wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux or Syrah.

• Creamy or Rich foods - The buttery flavor of Chardonnay is an excellent compliment to a buttery sauce. Medium to full-bodied whites best match the creaminess of rich sauces. Very fruity wines should be avoided.

• Hot and Spicy – Gewürztraminer is one of few wines that you might try with spicy food. Otherwise you could try a Riesling and beer would be great. It is a much better match for hot and spicy food than most wine. That would include corned beef and pastrami. Pickled herring is best with schnapps like whiskey or other strong spirits. .

• Fresh Fruit and Cheeses – Sweet wine, like late harvest or sparkling wine, is wonderful. Strawberries and champagne go great together. Avoid heavy reds with soft cheese. Very strong cheese can overwhelm a weak wine. So go with a full rich one like Port with kosher blue cheese, it is also wonderful with chocolate or rich desserts.

• Fish Dishes – The standard is white wine with fish. Try Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc with lox, smoked salmon, kippers, or trout; it will spark up your Sunday brunch. If the sauce is creamy, it will do well to have high acidity and even effervescence, so dry whites including Sauvignon Blanc, Vionier, Pinot Grigio would be a good choice. For a sweet recipe gefiilte fish try a Gewürztraminer.

• Salads, - Try a Sauvignon Blanc with an acidic salad dressing. Light dry whites are more acidic than reds and better with lemon and vinegar in the dressing.

• Eggs – Sparkling wines, including champagne and party wines, are great with eggs. They balance the soft texture without drowning the subtle flavor.

• Italian Food – Tomato based pasta or pizza can certainly be enjoyed with Merlot or Zinfandel but it is hard to beat a Barbera or Sangiovese varietal or wine from classic Italian growing regions like Chianti, Toscana, Valpolicella or Montepulciano.

• Turkey – Pinot Noir is likely the most food friendly a wine there is. It is the classic recommendation for the diversity of Thanksgiving and a fine choice where others may be problematic. Merlot and Chardonnay can work well also.

Wine should complement and enhance the experience. It is one of the great blessings of life and along with good food, family, friends and simcha it is meant to be shared.

L’chaim!