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Pairing Flavors with Wine

Okay, I’ll admit it, I don’t frequently read the Washington Post, but fortunately, I accidentally discovered a great article discussing the pairing of wine with foods that have a lot of flavor. By a lot of flavor, the authors are talking about fresh and dried chili peppers, horseradish, hot mustard, wasabi, spicy foods, and food with high acidity.

The authors, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg of the article, “Big Flavors Need Big Wine,” say “There’s no faster way to obliterate the nuances of a wine than to serve it with a dish whose flavors will jump out and make those subtleties disappear.” In the article, the authors address spicy and savory food pairings by encouraging consumers to avoid wines “high in alcohol, oak and tannin.”

The authors suggest pairing a white wine like Sauvignon Blanc with fresh chili peppers. However if dried chili peppers are involved, consider a red wine. Will your dinner involve horseradish? Consider a sparkling wine or a high acid wine. What pairs with wasabi? For some this may be the ultimate of hot especially the first time you have had it, but consider pairing wasabi with sake or perhaps a rosé sparkling wine. For more specifics, check out the column in the October 29, 2008 Washington Post.

Page and Dornenburg provide an interesting understanding of wine pairings and combine that with an interesting writing style. According to a note at the end of the article, the Washington Post publishes the Pairings column on the last Wednesday of the month. I look forward to reading more of their columns.

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