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Pairing food with wine should be the most trouble-free decision of our dining experience. All you need to do is pull the cork, pour the wine and enjoy — no mixing, heating, baking or chopping. No preparation time, and cleanup is as simple as walking to your recycle bin.

It should also be reassuring to know that when matching wine with food there are few unpalatable mistakes. In those few danger areas that exist, there are ways to alter the food to make it jibe with the wine.

Take the artichoke, for example. There is a substance in wine called cyanine which makes the vegetable taste sweet or metallic. This can be overcome by drizzling the artichoke with a lemon vinaigrette or fresh lemon juice. Match the dish with a rustic or young crisp white wine, but avoid red wines because their strong tannin content brings out the metallic taste.

The aroma of vinegar in a wine is generally considered a fault — or worse, a wine gone sour — and therefore it’s obvious as to why you would not want to enhance the flavor. However, if it is blended with olive oil-based dishes, it will not have much of a conflict.

It’s difficult to understand why anyone would want to serve wine with a runny egg yolk, but if you should attempt such a pairing, it’s sure to be disagreeable. When the palate is coated with a runny egg, it makes the acidity and tannin in the wine indistinguishable and the taste disgusting. However, with other egg dishes, such as eggs Benedict, quiches, eggs Florentine and omelets, a sparkling wine or light-bodied white wine will make an ideal match.

Oily fish such as mackerel need to be paired with fairly neutral white wines, which do not compete with the texture and flavor of the fish.

Because most of this week’s recommendations are for light, crisp white wines, so are the Values and Splurges.


  • 2006 Twisted River Late Harvest Riesling, Germany (about $12, retail)
  • 2006 Concha y Toro Estates Casillero Del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc, Chile (about $10, retail)
  • 2006 Cavit Collection Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $12, retail)
  • 2006 Luna di Luna Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $12, retail)


  • 2006 Frogs Leap Winery Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $28, retail)
  • 2006 Honig Vineyard and Winery Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $18, retail)
  • 2006 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Premier Cru, France (about $38, retail)
  • 2005 Pascal Jolivet Attitude Sauvignon Blanc, France (about $26, retail)