Wine & Food

Snooth User: sparks1093

Proper way to enjoy wine with food?

Posted by sparks1093, Jul 5, 2011.

Completely new at this but when having wine with a meal does one actually take a sip of wine while chewing their food or is it more a between bites thing? For example we had sirloin steak on the barbacue yesterday and I had a nice Pinot Noir to go with it but it didn't seem like the wine was providing much enhancement so I don't know if I picked the wrong wine. (It could also be that my uneducated palate did not appreciate the mixtures it was being introduced to.)


Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 5, 2011.

Eat a little, then, while the flavor is lingering, take a sip.  Take a sip when you just feel like it during conversation.  Take a sip and, while the taste of the wine is lingering in your mouth, take another bite of food.  Drink a little of the wine before dinner--it gets your digestive juices going and whets the appetite.  But not so much that you fall asleep on the couch and miss the meal entirely (and spill red wine on the couch in the process.)

My mother taught me that it was poor manners to drink while food was still in your mouth.  Plus it raises the chances of spilling or dribbling, a loss of precious wine. 

My only other advice is to use a glass so you don't get food particles in the bottle and ruin everyone else's enjoyment. 

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jul 6, 2011.


Good advice from Foxall

I would think a barbeque'd sirloin would probably overpower most pinot's.

In my part of the world in South Australia we would generally have a Barossa/McLaren Vale/Clare SHiraz with Steak

Reply by sparks1093, Jul 6, 2011.

I do most of the cooking so drinking so much wine before dinner that I fall asleep would ruin everyone's meal. I'll just have to work on my pairings (ah, more experimentation). Thanks for the advice!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 6, 2011.

Yep, good Syrah goes with so many things.  Also a spicy, not too jammy Zin with barbecue.  I also enjoy a CdP with barbecue, but you gotta watch the alcohol level when you are out of doors.

SH: Of course, most of that is tongue in cheek.  BTW, are we driving you crazy with all our talk of summer when it's winter down there.

Reply by GregT, Jul 6, 2011.

Sparks - OK all the above and kudos to Foxall for even hinting that manners might be relevant in this day and age!!  Yay!

People talk with food in their mouths, chew with their mouths open, dig in their ears, don't wash before eating but have no trouble petting the dog or cat or scratching their itch and then grabbing the entire loaf of bread or entire hunk of cheese. Don't do any of that either - even tho it has nothing to do with wine pairing.

Anyhow, don't worry too much about the pairing thing.  If the wine doesn't work, and I suspect your match wasn't inspiring, that doesn't mean that either the food or the wine was at fault. So just sip the wine when you don't have the taste of the food in your mouth.

During the Vietnam War, a Vietnamese general described the Americans thus: "Punch in, punch out, eat it quick."

No need to be like that.  Sit and chat and drink a little wine during the lull or while you're listening and suddenly pairing is far less important.  I give it almost no thought and I'm pretty happy most of the time.  Strongly flavored spicy things are hard to pair.  For steak I'd get a bigger red, but remember that some people like Pinot Noir with everything, some like Riesling with everything, and some like Cab with everything, so just find what you happen to like and stick with that.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jul 6, 2011.

Foxall - Mixed emotions on the seasonal difference, I love summer and everything about it, but Winter has Football [Aussie style], and great winter food which goes so well with my favourite Red wines

My wife is on a slow cooked meat oddyssey and we are enjoying some great winter dishes as a result. Osso Buco last night was great [sadly no wine and then 90 mins at the gym followed]

The only challenge I have is to wind the reco's forward six months and remember to try some of the things you guys are enjoying now.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 7, 2011.

SH: I look forward to winter just for the big reds that would sit poorly with hot weather.  Of course, our winters are mild compared to NY or Boston or Chicago.  Summers are pretty mild, too, and our nights are cool, so we can drink bigger reds all the time.

GregT: I tell my kids all the time to use good manners so we don't need a crash course if we get invited to the White House.  It's moderately effective.  I like that you include among the lessons of the Vietnam war something more than the Powell doctrine.  USA could do with a little more self reflection. Sigh.

Also, GregT on pairings: Big PN can stand up to a lot of things, but the larger point is well taken: Drink what you like with good friends and good food and... well, visit my new thread on tonight's virtual tasting.  Wine and food and life are just kind of a web--you can't separate the threads without damaging the whole.  One strand alone also makes little difference in isolation, so don't obsess about the wine. I often drink Spanish wine with Italian food, Syrah with all kinds of stuff.

In short: If we took more time and rushed less, it would all be better.  Remember when leisure was the ultimate luxury good?

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