I never understood the hoopla over Merlots, Malbecs and Sauvignon Blancs wines. I always thought that wine drinking was reserved for elegant dinners, fine dining and well, the French. In my circle the drink of choice was Cosmo’s , Martini’s and at a Haitian gatherings, that ever wonderful Baileys Irish Cream, which I call our adapted cremas. The closest I got to drinking wine was, yes, I know you know what’s coming, Manischewitz. I did not realize that Manischewitz was not the best the wine world had to offer until I was about 22. And for those who still have not discovered it yet, I know this is going to come as a shock, but, real wine is not sweetened with sugar. While I’m still very much a wine novice, I have forced myself over the past couple of years to acquire at least some basic knowledge of the subject. I figured, why not, it makes for good conversation. Plus, it really does make a meal that much more enjoyable when you drink the right wine along with it.
Why is it important to Pair your food with the right wine
The reason that people place so much emphasis on the wine they serve with a meal is simple: when paired correctly, wine should bring the very best flavor out of your dishes. Like your parsley, thyme, siv and piman, wine should serve as a compliment to your meal. Acids and sugars in the wine will react with different foods differently. When paired properly or even just decently, wine with your meal will make your dining experience-whether out or at home- that much more pleasant.
When it comes to wine and food pairing, I get questions from my clients asking what would best go with grilled chicken, salmon or a pot roast? Rarely am I asked what would best suit a griot meal? For those of you who prefer a nice glass of juice, or some other form of cocktail with your meals, I ask, even challenge you to explore a wine option with your next meal.
WINE 101/( Crash Course)
Light Bodied(not as much as alcohol, lighter in color)
Full Bodied(the highest alcohol content, heavier tasting, and darker reds)
Dry- Absent of Sweetness
White Zinfandel- great with pasta dishes, cheeses, crab cakes, seafood fritters, raw vegetables, etc. the best wine to paid with Griot.
Sauvignon Blanc- strong cheeses, like goat, raw and steam shellfishes, i.e. mussels, etc. Red snapper and other fishes if the fish is more flavored on the citrus side.
Pinot Grigio- seafood, light pastas and cheese cracker combinations. This wine is fairly acidic itself, avoid pairing with foods that have high acid contents, like citrus fruits or tomato-based recipes. Good with poisson rose especially if they are on the spicy side.
Chardonnay- Light & dry, goes well with foods in cream sauces. Best with poultry. Avoid steaks. Try it with a poul du nan sos.
Riesling -appetizers to desserts, pork, poultry or fish. seafood in a lighter non-cream sauce is complemented by a dry Riesling. Rieslings are also able to handle the spice and zest of favored Asian foods. This is a great wine to pair with griot
Malbec- medium-full bodied, definitely a red meat wine, great for Mexican, Cajun, Indian or Italian fare
Shiraz- medium bodied and grilled meats or veggies, wild game, richly flavored red meats, beef stew and meat lover’s pizza.
Pinot Noir- light bodied, goes with pretty much everything: poultry, beef, fish, ham, lamb and pork. Great with creamy sauces, spicy seasoning. Dishes such as Potato Gallete would go well with this.
Cabernet Sauvignon- medium bodied, great with red meats, flavorful and heartier (red) pastas, lamb, strong-flavored cheese, and chocolates
Merlot-light to medium bodied, Poultry, red meat, pork, pastas, salads. Very versatile. Great with Legume or stews or any red meat dish such as goat or lamb.
Nadege Fleurimond is the owner & business manager of Fleurimond Catering. For questions and comments you may write her at [email protected]
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