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Two Women on Wine: Demystifying food and wine parings

Learn by doing. Taste the food and wine together

Posted: September 25, 2009 12:10 p.m.
Updated: September 25, 2009 12:08 p.m.
Lil Lepore and Shari FrazierTwo Women on Wine Lil Lepore and Shari FrazierTwo Women on Wine
Lil Lepore and Shari FrazierTwo Women on Wine
Finding the perfect partner isn't always easy but when it happens, it can be magical. We're not talking about the next season of the "Bachelor" or "Bachelorette." Rather, we're talking about the explosion of flavors and the senses when food is properly paired with wine and perfection achieved.

When it comes to pairing food and wine, this is not a case of anything goes. A bad clash can spoil an otherwise fabulous meal or taint what should have been an exceptional wine.

If you are like us and yearn to learn the nuances of pairing wines with food, then listen up. There are Web sites that allow you to type in a food item and up pops a suggested wine varietal. Nice, but this method doesn't take into account your personal tastes, nor does it consider the other elements of the meal that might interact with your choice.

A second option is to visit the local bookstore and peruse the volumes of books dedicated to this subject. There are excellent references available but, again, it may only give you a limited answer and not take into consideration all the other factors involved with the meal.

Our last and preferred option is to learn by doing. Tasting food and wine together; learning general guidelines and lesser known subtleties ensures that you acquire a complete understanding of the process. Sweetness, acidity, tannins, spices are just examples of all that must be considered when pairing food and wine.

Beginning Oct. 1, Vino 100 and executive chef Tamra Levine, owner of Heritage Lane Productions and director of catering for Salt Creek Grille, will present a four-part series entitled, "Demystifying Food and Wine Pairings." Each two-hour class explores various foods and wines to teach basic principles and ways to organize menu choices. Guests will enjoy Salt Creek Grille Catering's perfectly prepared and exquisitely plated selections of food tastes, accompanied by Vino 100's wine selections.

The first class introduces basic wine evaluation and the principles of food and wine compatibility. Participants learn to train their "taste" to develop their own pairing intuition, and learn to read a wine label so as to predict wine style and food affinity. Flavor dynamics of food and wine, along with learning to read and evaluate a glass of wine, palate mapping and major varietal identification will also be explored.

The second class in the series delves into food and cuisine. Determining sweetness and acidity levels and their impact on wine and food; discovering how salt, bitterness and effervescence affects food and wine; understanding the "mouthfeel" continuum; and distinguishing tannin, oak and body encompass the taste components and texture characteristics that will be explored.

The third class journeys into the impact food cooking and preparation methods have on wine pairing; understanding the interaction of wine on food flavor intensity and persistency; how animal or vegetable fats and oils affect food and wine; and hot, savory and sweet spices. Wine length, finish and aftertaste, along with wine varietals and food types will be presented.

The fourth and final class in the series pulls it all together. Menu planning, ethnic cooking styles, regional wines, wine service, cheese and desserts will be examined.

Join us for all classes or just a few. Reservations are required and space is limited to 25 per session.


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