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Happy Wine Wednesday folks!
Wine pairing is a lot easier than some may think. However, it does take a while to get used to the different notes in each wine. I consider myself a mid-shelf wine drinker; I’ll pay more than $10 for a bottle, but probably not more than $20. As someone who shops on a budget, this price range is important to me, but I want to still make sure that I’m buying a wine I enjoy.
Intro to Wine
For starters, let’s get familiar with wine. There are a few different categories of wine:
Dry Whites: This category includes wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.
Sweet Whites: This category includes Moscato and Riesling.
Rich Whites: This category includes Chardonnays.
Sparkling: This category includes Sparkling Wine, Prosecco, and Champagne.
Light Red: This category includes Pinor Noir.
Medium Red: This category includes Zinfandel and Merlot.
Bold Red: This category includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah.
Dessert: This category includes Sherry and Port.
Generally, Old World Wines and New World Wines have different flavor profiles. Most Old World Wines are located in Europe and New World Wines include Australia and California regions. However, each region still has its own unique flavor – but don’t let the fear of trying a wine from a new place steer you away from trying a really good wine!
Chardonnays tend to have two slightly different flavors: either buttery and oaky or light and fruity. I’m typically a buttery chardonnay kinda gal, but a good fruity wine is great in the summer! In fact, did you know that National Chardonnay Day is coming up on May 21st? That’s my kinda holiday!
For this post, I used two Notable Wine Chardonnays. One is from Australia and one if from California. Generally, I have trouble finding the underlying notes in wine, but with Notable Wines, it was super easy! The notes are on the front of the bottle; the California Chardonnay has notes of Butter, Oak, and Vanilla and the Australian Chardonnay has notes of Melon, Citrus, and Peach. The notes on the front of the bottle make it so much easier to identify the flavors in the wine and choose a wine for the occassion! No more reading those complex desciptions on the back of the bottle!
Notable Wine is a brand new product and will soon expand to be in many stores. I found mine in my local grocery store!
Easy Wine Pairing Tips
The wine should be sweeter than the food. This is why dessert wines are much sweeter since they can be sweeter than the desert. If the wine is less sweet than dessert, the wine will taste more bitter than it is.
The wine should be more tart. A vinaigrette salad dressing should be served with a brut chardonnay rather than a buttery chardonnay.
More tannin, more flavor. Don’t serve bitter with bitter. For high tannin wines, serve with rich, buttery dishes rather than bitter dishes. This is why a good cabernet is usually served with a dish that is rich in flavor.
In essence, the wine should have more flavor than the dish you’re serving it with. This will prevent the wine from tasting bitter when paired with food. When wine and food are paired correctly, the wine actually tastes better and you can taste more of the underlying notes in the wine.
Did you know a lot of music streaming services have a special Wine Tasting Playlists?
For light Chardonnays, specifically ones with notes of fruit, I enjoy listing to classical artists from the Baroque era that give a light spring vibe.
For more buttery Chardonnays, I prefer a deeper, richer sound to go with the richer wine. I like to think of songs that go well at summer weddings with a small orchestra with more focus on longer, deeper notes rather than quicker, higher notes.
Below, I’ve made two simple appetizer recipes that are perfect for an adult gathering. They are both super easy to make and look impressive when served as a compliment to a wine. With National Chardonnay Day coming up, these are the perfect recipes to pair with Notable Chardonnays to celebrate with your friends!
Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
The rich flavors of the mushrooms paired well with the oak and buttery flavors in the Californian Chardonnay.
For the Mushrooms:
- Approximately 48 fresh whole baby portabella or white mushrooms (1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter)
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 1 bag chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
- Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Remove stems from mushroom caps; reserve caps. Discard stems.
- In large bowl, mix cream cheese, spinach, half of the Parmesan cheese, the Mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning until well blended.
- Spoon into mushroom caps, mounding slightly.
- Place mushrooms in ungreased 17×12-inch half-sheet pan.
- In small bowl, mix remaining Parmesan cheese, the bread crumbs and butter.
- Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over filled mushroom caps, pressing lightly.
- Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve warm.
Simple Summer Salad
For the Australian Chardonnay, I paired it with a light summer salad with a vinaigrette dressing. The flavors in the salad brought out the fruity flavors in the Chardonnay.
For the salad:
- 1 lb Chicken Breast
- 1 Gala Apple
- 1 Bag Mixed Greens
- 1 Small Container Cherry Tomatoes
- Optional: 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
- 2 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Lemon
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Olive Oil
- Butterfly the chicken breasts.
- Add approximately a teaspoon of olive oil to a small pan and heat over medium heat.
- Add salt, pepper, garlic, and the juice of one lemon to the chicken and cook in the pan until done throughout.
- Cube the chicken, tomatoes, and apples.
- Toss all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a light vinaigrette dressing.