By Frances Largeman-Roth, RD

I not too long ago had the nice fortune to spend a while in Napa at a category on the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). And although I'm pregnant, I did my fair proportion of swirling and sniffing (and even a wee little bit of sipping).

Wine is fairly simple to take pleasure in by itself. So is meals. However for some motive, placing the 2 collectively can flummox individuals. I've taken wine seminars and lessons earlier than, however CIA's Refined Palate program defined pairings to me in essentially the most fundamental, easy-to-understand approach.

First we took a take a look at the aroma wheel and did a sniff take a look at of eight wines. Our process? Decide the principle aroma within the wine just by smelling it. I'd advocate attempting it at dwelling on a chilly night time with a bunch of buddies. You possibly can even flip it right into a recreation—like we did—and make the losers wash the dishes. Good factor my crew received!

Then Chef John Ash walked us by way of some typical pairings utilizing the precept of similarity—pairing meals with wine that has an analogous taste profile. Maintain the following pointers in thoughts when eating out or cooking at dwelling. I'll guess you'll impress the pants off all of your company.

Gewürztraminer
Taste profile: Flavors of recent fruits like white peach, plus honey and a little bit of spice
No-fail meals pairing: Dried apricots carry out the delicate acidity on this wine, so attempt it with a dish of grilled pork with apricot chutney.

Sauvignon Blanc
Taste profile: Grassy, recent, with lemony undertones
No-fail meals pairing: Sauvignon Blanc is wonderful with the tangy creaminess of goat cheese. It's excellent with a goat cheese tart, or a salad or pasta dish with goat cheese.

Chardonnay (if it's aged in oak barrels)
Taste profile: Buttery, toasty, vanilla aromas
No-fail meals pairing: Working off the nuttiness in chard, go for one thing like an almond- or pistachio-crusted fish. When you're coping with an unoaked Chardonnay, you'll have much more flexibility with the meals pairing.

Pinot Noir
Taste profile: Spicy, peppery, blackberry, earthy flavors
No-fail meals pairing: Nothing is earthier than a mushroom, which makes a mushroom risotto or mushroom pizza the proper companion to a glass of Pinot. This wine can be unbelievable whenever you're serving a cheese plate.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Taste profile: Leathery, oaky, flavors of licorice, black cherries, and different darkish fruits
No-fail meals pairing: Cabernet has plenty of tannins—the compounds that trigger the dry and puckery feeling in your mouth—and acid, however the richness within the olives helps to mood that depth. Attempt a giant glass of Cab with pasta puttanesca or one other richly flavored dish like eggplant Parmesan.

My prime three wine and food-pairing suggestions
1. Chew together with your mouth open. Miss Manners might not approve, however you possibly can odor the flavors in meals higher.
2. Pair low-sodium meals with low-tannin wine. The much less salty your meals is, the extra the tannins in purple wines will come out. Attempt a low-tannin purple like Pinot Noir.
three. When doubtful, simply decide up your glass and revel in it!

 

 

(PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES)

 

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