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What Food Goes with Wine? (Dos Fincas, Malbec, 2010)


I love food.  Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I can talk about it constantly.  Who produced it, where it was grown, is it local, where is it purchased, and on and on.  I also love wine, and the idea of a perfect marriage between wine and food.

Earlier tonight, I was remembering an event.  I was out to dinner with my ex husband.  He and I were huge lamb fans, and never lost respect for restaurants that served the retro mint gel with the meat.  We would pore over wine lists to find the *right* depth of wine for our lamb dish, depending on how it was to be prepared. 

One night, he had chosen either a barbera or a sangiovese (remember, this was in the mid 90’s also, not today!).  Evidently, the wine choice plus the direction to omit the mint gel got back to the chef.  The chef came to our table to compliment us on our wine choice and to talk with us about pairing meat with wine.  It was an amazing experience, and one that made me believe that food and wine pairing isn’t just “what you want to drink” or whatever the other nonsense is, but an actual science. 

Sadly, I lack a degree in chemistry so I can’t say what *really* happens between flavors and alkalinity and acidity with certain meats, and the mix with wine tannins, and sugars, and companion sauces, but I wish I could!

My inability to express how it *should* be when wine and food are companionably together is similar to the scene in Ratatouille when Remy is trying to explain to Emile about the dancing flavors when strawberries and cheese are eaten together.  Singularly, they are amazing flavors, but together, they are a symphony (sorry for the cliche’).

After speaking with a client today about the fruit-forward aspects of malbec, I decided to get one for dinner.  I had done a precursory search on Google, and discovered that yes, malbec can be served with pork. 

I made my pork, thinly sliced loin steaks, topped with slices of yellow onion, olive oil, adobo seasonings and paprika.  I felt the seasonings would be good with the malbec.

The pork came out great, very moist, and I was enjoying the wine with it.  However, I noticed the wine was more interesting, more palatable than the pork dish (served with asparagus), and I also realized I have a bit of a dilemma.

I love drinking wine as a cocktail (read: by itself).  I like beer occasionally, but don’t feel the desire to pair a beer with food.

I love to cook, and believe that a great  meal can be enhanced by a great wine.  But how does one go about pairing great wines with great food than to keep trying different things? 

Again, like I said at the beginning, I love food.  Should I find a meal or type of food that I am wild about, and try to pair it with many different types of wines to see which has the best fit?  I feel the answer to my question is scientific after all.   

I’m going to contemplate the possible answers to these questions, and keep track of my findings.

Tonight’s wine:  Dos Fincas, The Wines of Carlos Basso, 2010, Malbec

Notes: 8/4/11, at home, listening to Lee Morgan (Tom Cat, 1964)

Dos Fincas, the Wines of Carlos Basso, 2010, Malbec, Argentina
Alcohol: 14%

Appearance: Dark purple with narrow purple rim.
Nose: medium intensity, light spice (tea?), with a final note of violet
Palate: good fruit, not as heavy as I anticipated for a dark wine, mild finish.  The extra .5 percent alcohol caused a reduction in the intial flavor, which is unfortunate. 
 
I’m not in love with wine, so probably won’t try to cook/pair a food around it in the future.
~H

About Helene Kremer

San Francisco East Bay

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