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Wine and Food Pairing

Trust your mouth. You know what you like; enjoy it

So says Jeffrey Saad, 25-year food industry veteran and restaurateur. I recently returned from a Wine Bloggers Conference where I had the great pleasure of seeing this dynamic personality give a presentation on food and wine pairing. The following video will teach you more about pairing wine and food.

Now, back to Jeffrey. He asked us who in the audience would pair a Coke with pizza so that he could make a point about why the combination works together. A big laugh came from the crowd when not even one hand went up and he mused, “Wow, you guys really are a bunch of winos!”

Key pointers:

  • Pair acid with acid, such as salad with vinaigrette paired with Grüner Veltliner.
  • Pair fat in food with acid in wine, such as goat cheese in buttery phyllo cups with Argentine Torrontes.
  • Pair protein or animal fat with tannin such as Kobe beef with Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Pair sweet with sweet. Sweet food spanks the fruit right out of the wine if the wine isn’t as sweet.
  • Pair spice with sweetness. Spice does not like tannin; it accentuates it.
  • Make funky ingredients a part of a dish, not the main flavor.

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Owning your own Wine Farm

Owning a winery is the dream of many successful businessmen. In South Africa, quite a few wineries are privately owned and operated. Not only is the beauty of the Cape Winelands enticing, but what could be more seductive than the thought of serving a wine complete with your own family name and crest?

But winemaking is a capital-intensive project, and slow on returns. When he went into it almost 30 years ago, Tim Hamilton Russell estimated that it would take 10 years to see a return on capital.

The figure has not changed much since then especially now that imported equipment and wooden barrels have to be acquired with our weak rand. So it is rewarding to see South African money being invested in the Cape Winelands when it could so easily be exported for quicker and far better returns.

Relatively new to the industry is another IT man, Dave Lello. He brings a wealth of wine knowledge, having had a keen interest in the subject for most of his life. His enthusiasm for wine is matched by his love of Italy and Africa. And this shows in the name he has chosen for his wine venture, Stellakaya.

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Walla Walla Wine Wine Time Time

Yes, I know, it’s a silly heading. Walla Walla actually uses that same tagline of repeating words to market their wine region. So I borrowed it.  We were fortunate enough to be able to experience the Walla Walla wine region not too long ago and, although we expected good things I don’t think we were quite prepared for what we got.

The wine being produced in Walla Walla is sensational. Even the juice that wasn’t great was still good. Walla Walla is located due South of Spokane, Washington in the Southeast corner of the state.  It’s about a 262-mile drive from Seattle and 158 miles from Spokane. This was our first time in Walla Walla and it was beautiful. We had great weather as the sun was out.

We were able to visit eleven wineries: Woodward Canyon Winery, L’Ecole No 41, Gifford Hirlinger, Beresan Winery, Balboa Winery, Basel Cellars, Trio Vintners, Kontos Cellars, Dunham Cellars, Cavu Cellars, and Waterbrook.

Our first stop was at Woodward Canyon where we were met by Kellie Berg, the tasting room manager, who was extremely friendly and nice to us. I tasted six of their wines with my favorites being their 2016 Burgundy styled Chardonnay, NV Columbia Red Wine (52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 14% Syrah), Artist Series #15 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (which actually had a bit of Syrah and Merlot in it) and 2014 Estate Red.  The best value of the bunch was the NV Columbia Red Wine, which at $26 is a true bargain.

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Heritage Trail Vineyards

Location

Heritage Trail Vineyards is located on 38 rolling acres in the Quinebaug-Shetucket National Heritage Corridor, an area federally registered as one of America’s most scenic destinations. In addition, the vineyard is close to many of Connecticut’s tourist attractions, including Mystic Seaport, the Mohegan Sun, and Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Heritage Trail Vineyards invites you to join them for light food, great wine, and a wonderful setting. In winter, warm your hands at the fire; in summer, stroll the property or admire the view from a sunny deck. They are looking forward to seeing you soon!

Hours

May through December, Heritage Trail is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:00 to 5:00 p.m. and January through April, they are open by appointment. Please call the vineyard at (860) 376-0659 to arrange a tasting or to purchase wine.

How to get there

From New Haven, take I-95 North to I-395 North to exit 83A (Lisbon), then take a left onto Route 169. Heritage Trail Vineyards will be approximately three miles up the road on your left. From the Boston area, take I-395 South to Exit 87 to Route 12; go south on Route 12 to sign “Route 169” (about 4 miles); turn right on Butt’s Bridge Road and go to Route 169 (2 miles); take left onto Route 169. The winery is two miles down the road.

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