There is a scene in the movie, “Sideways”, where Paul Giamatti is eating a cheeseburger in a burger joint while drinking a Bordeaux from the bottle in a paper bag. It took me some time to figure out the artistic metaphor but the scene brought up questions in a recent wine class I was giving about food pairing and flavor profiles in wine. You know, it’s basic wine 101 stuff about flavors in food and wine coexisting on the palate in a seamless symphony. To many professionals and wine enthusiasts it may be an easy exercise. To others it may seem like rocket science.
Most of us don’t want to have to think so deeply about how we dine and what we eat & drink. It is a social event, the dining scene, weather at home or out in a favorite bistro. In my classes and articles I stress one rule…”there are no rules”, eat and drink what you like and enjoy the experience.
It is true, however, that wine will change in the mouth and overall perception with different food groups. We as a mobile society, spend an abundance of time on the road eating “drive-through” meals. Many evenings are spent driving through and driving home to eat when the evening gets late. We run out of time, energy and patience for cooking our meals, or sitting in a restaurant and ordering from a menu not wishing to wait for table service or wanting to spend the extra cash in gratuity.
I get it, it’s a tough economy and money is tight. So if the choice is a burger, taco, slice of pizza, or fried chicken at the drive through, yet the home is stocked with your favorite wine, what works? Well, quite simply, everything and remembering that it is the preparation and the sauce or condiments that are the bridge to wine, there are plenty of choices.
Burgers offer the best field of wine choice, in my opinion. Double cheese, maxed out with the works or plain and simple. I’ve spent many a court side basketball game drinking zinfandel, (a personal favorite), with any number of dressed up double-doubles. Tacos open the door to a wide range of white varieties; Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Riesling. The next time you grab a bucket of chicken, have a cold bottle of bubbly waiting. I like Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava for this experience. If you are lucky enough to live near a fusion take-out; Asian/Mex, Southwest/French; Italian/Indian…the door blows wide open for wine adventures.
I am not a fan of drinking from the bottle, I like oxygen to fold into and open the bouquet or nose of the wine. That is what I enjoy most about wine. So if theres a DQ bananna split in front of you next time don’t be shy about your wine choice, experiment and make your next experience fun.
It took my wife to explain to me that it wasn’t that Paul Giamatti’s character hated Merlot, he was bitter about his “EX” who loved Merlot. There’s nothing wrong with Merlot and I would recommend trying it with your next “IN & OUT”. Cheers!