I am constantly exploring the changing world of food and wine pairing. What once was a very straightforward concept of red wine with meat and white wine with fish just doesn’t fit anymore. A recent posting of the hottest food trends of 2017 from the National Restaurant Association shows our preferences are changing, and with that comes an opportunity for more wine matchups. I looked over the top 20 trending foods and did a little research.
STREET FOOD INSPIRED DISHES
With the popularity of food trucks on street corners showcasing cuisines from around the world, many cooks are looking to re-create these dishes at home. Today you can find an array of tastes, from gourmet burgers to vegan wraps. When I researched the top street foods, many were based on “comfort foods” (generally defined as foods providing consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically with high fat and carbohydrate content). Consider a refreshing simple white wine with high acidity.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
One common misconception is that fruits and vegetables can only be paired with dry, light bodied white wines. In fact, fruits and vegetables often add more flavor to a dish than the main protein. Consider a wine showing the same characteristics as the dish. If the dish has high acidity from fruits or earthy taste from vegetables, serve a wine that will share in the flavors. Sparkling wines with strawberries, citrus; acidic white wines with tomatoes and green salads; aromatic white wines with herbs, bell peppers, carrots, beets; creamy lush white wines with corn, beans; light red wines with mushrooms, root vegetables, carrots; sweet red wines with plums, berries, oranges.
Many international cuisines are distinguished by the spices and aromatics used in preparing them. The key to a successful wine and spicy food pairing is to consider the spices. If you are creating a Mexican dish, most likely the spices will be cumin, garlic, cinnamon and coriander; Thai (basil, ginger, turmeric, chile); Indian (cardamom, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, curry); Cajun (cayenne pepper, onion, garlic, paprika, bay leaves). Most of these spices have a distinct flavor so staying with wines that won’t compete is your best bet. Consider light-bodied white wines with refreshing, simple flavors and good acidity like pinot grigio, sparkling, rose, sauvignon blanc and unoaked chardonnay.
This trend is broadly defined as seafood caught or farmed in a manner that can maintain or increase production in the long term, without jeopardizing the health of oceans and their aquatic life. Begin with the “weight” of the fish. Weight refers to richness, texture and fat. Consider the many types of seafood and the array of textures and weights. You can compare the hearty weight of salmon, tuna or sea bass to lighter filets of flounder or tilapia, or the rich taste of lobster versus the delicacy of an oyster or scallop. Consider chardonnay, pinot grigio, riesling or pinot noir.
These are my recommendations for the most versatile wines with these trending food and wine pairing options.
- 2015 Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewurztraminer, Oregon (about $12 retail)
- 2015 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris, California (about $19 retail)