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    EOL Coverage of Chefs Championships at IHMRS

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    Preparing Lobster for Competition

Wines: Pairing Them With The Perfect Meals
Discovering Their True Tastes

Enjoying a good wine these days can be a daunting challenge. There are some terrific wine inventories popping up in our local grocery stores across the country. The more these wine inventories amass at some of the super shopping centers, the larger number of amateur wine consuirs there will be with questions of which wine to serve with particular meals.

Hopefully I can offer some helpful tips to improve your overall wine experience. There really is nothing much more enjoyable in the culinary arts as the pairing of a sumptuous wine with an elegant dinner.

Cabernet Sauvignon some consider to be the king of reds. A big-structured, dark-fruited wine, the best of which become even more elegant with age. The swirl and taste brings out the flavors of plums, blackberries, and black currant; sometimes violets or rose petals, and often mint, mocha, and eucalyptus or cedar; strong tannins underneath.

Such a wonderful flavored wine is best served with a well marbled beef. The sheer enjoyment of mixing the robust flavors of this wine as you just sample your beef will enhance your tasting experience. It is a wonderful mix of flavors completing the enjoyment of your main course. This choice of wines is also served well with hearty fowl such as duck. The two flavors compliment each other very well. Your enjoyment of this wine will also be intensified by serving it with meats that are basted with spice rubs and sauces with lots of black pepper and mushrooms. A strong soy sauce marinade is another excellent choice. Long-braised stews, pot roast and grilled red meat are all wonderful choices to pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon.

You should really taste and test to find your style. Some Cabernet's are made to be drunk tonight, with ripe fruit and subdued tannins. Others need years to mellow. Great Cabs, some argue, are balanced the day they are released and get better with time.

Now we have our Chardonnays a rich yet complex white. With complex fruit flavors and often a rich, creamy texture it has become more than likely the most popular of white wines.

With the swirl and taste of this wine you will be captured by the green apple, pear, melon, creamy lemon, and sometimes pineapple, rounded out with butterscotch and vanilla.

This elegant white is best paired with sweet shellfish, your dinner guests will never be disappointed. This wine also goes well with any white-fleshed fish such as halibut, sturgeon, mahi mahi, tilapia and the flavorful cod. In the meat family your best choices would be chicken of turkey, pork and veal. Again the mix of the flavors and texture of the two together in your mouth is a wonderful way of truly enjoying the wine. A nice Chardonnay will also compliment a risotto and pasta dish served with white cream, buttery sauces.

California winemakers have traditionally made Chardonnay in a rich, buttery style by fermenting and aging it in oak barrels. Now, some have learned that too much oak can cover up the fruit, so some winemakers are starting to substitute stainless-steel tanks for a leaner, crisper style. Be certain to sample many varieties as they can and will vary some in flavor and dryness.

Then we have our Merlot a soft tannins, dark fruit, probably the most popular of the reds here in the states. Merlot has dark fruit flavors like Cabernet Sauvignon, but is generally a little rounder and softer. The swirl and taste of this popular wine will leave you with the enhanced flavors of blackberries, blueberries, plums, cassis, and dried cherries combined with chocolate, cedar, and tobacco and sometimes hints of black olive.

Again with this red you will want to try a few varieties as you will come across some with a more dry, delicate fruit flavor and spice. Then there are others that tend to have a bit more of a wild berry and herbs flavor, they tend to be a bit darker and heavier in texture.

Personally I enjoy a nice Merlot with a hearty red meat but others seem to feel it pairs best with lamb, a more meaty fish such as salmon or tuna. Your dishes can be complimented with black olives, fresh herbs, mushrooms, berries and dried cherries. A tender, milder cut of beef, such as a tenderloin makes for an excellent choice when serving a Merlot. I always found it most enjoyable to take a bite of the tenderloin and then a sip of Merlot and let the flavors just mesh on the palate.

When it comes to choosing a wine to serve with particular meals there are some basics that you should follow to get the most enjoyment from the wine. Be certain to sample different makers of the same type wine as you will find a difference in flavors and dryness. Most of all make your wine tastings an enjoyable experience.


If you would like some more complete information about wine in general please visit http://www.the-wine-enthusiast.com/ There you will find some free information to help compliment any dining experience. Along with all the wine information you could ever need there are some excellent top Chef tips.