Snark Infested Waters ~ Bob Edwards

Bob Edwards


Proper pairings

Posted on January 29, 2016 by Bob Edwards

Memo to tourists and 2nd-home week-enders: If you aspire to pass as a card-carrying Local in wine country, you’ll need to become familiar with the ins & outs, hints, notes and nuances – the je ne sais quoi — of wine & food pairings. [The correct posture for reading further requires that you extend your pinkie finger like . . . this. No, arch it a little more. Yes, that’s good.]

For the uninitiated, pairings originated deep in the cellars of wine & food Marketing Departments. Painstakingly writ down by monks, this accumulated wisdom of centuries of staff meetings lists all food and what wine goes best – pairs – with it, closing a meal or snack with a shuddering gustatory orgasm. For those lacking requisite clearances, a heavily-redacted pairings summary can be found on the Food & Wine Magazine website.

Hereabouts, only a rube uncaps a jug of chardonnay to wash down that BLT. No! No matter how good the buzz & the burp, it’s just not right i.e., profitable, if a pricey wine can’t be paired with it under the guise of gastronomical correctness.

Not widely known is that pairings can greatly expand business at a run-of-the-swill tasting room. Apparently, any shop that can smoke one past the planning commission gurus by serving tiny noshes to go with the wine tastings can morph into – voila! – a restaurant.

What’s needed is an on-site kitchen permit from the health dept. or a drive-by food truck to peddle stuff to snack on when purportedly tasting wine, such as tacos, always-hip “small bites” or even plates of two-fisted, all-natural, grass-fed, hormone/antibiotic/gluten/cage-free organic, locally sourced, humanely slaughtered, hand-crafted artisanal burgers.

[Note: Readers who experience a sudden rush of nausea after reading wine & food marketing terms should seek immediate medical attention. Ask your doctor if food and wine pairings are right for you and if your heart is healthy enough for sex.]

Proper pairing requires intensive study here and abroad (or in Petaluma), and a standing reservation at an alcohol rehab. center. To receive the wine & food industry’s coveted Golden Tongue statuette requires consuming every imaginable food and insect in combination with every different wine one can lay hands on, then publishing peer-reviewed articles on (a) how each combo tasted, and (b) the metric weight of cash each wine shook loose from your pocket.

In the world of wine marketing, it is the latter that determines an ideal pairing. No matter the food, no respectable winepreneur allows clientele to leave a pairing with money left over.

While you’ve slept, the faux sophistication of wine-food pairings has changed the entire booze marketing landscape, if not the very economics of our Valley. Nowadays, even whiskey and beer — often associated with projectile vomiting contests and DUI — have their suggested pairings, too, should connoisseurs still be standing by dinner.

So bone up on pairings. You may have made millions, cured brain cancer and sent your kids to the best schools, but if you’ve lived your life not realizing that sardines and chianti does not taste nearly as good as you thought it does, well . . . What’s it all been for?

To begin your education, simply stop into any of the 1,376 tasting rooms in town, arch a pinkie and ask: “Kind sir, which of your fine wines pairs best with a redolent dollop of the locally-excreted grass-fed bovine pâté?” They’ll come up with something.


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA