Since we have been in our home we have built up a decent inventory of wines. We were not trying to build an inventory, but our eyes are bigger than our palates at times. When we have guests coming over, we want to make sure they will not go away hungry or thirsty.
Because we are getting ready for a trip in a few weeks, it seemed sensible to use products from our inventory. We are on a mission to use what we have as much as possible before we leave, whether it is food in the cupboards or wine in the cabinet.
Karen loves wine and food pairing and is very good at it, so jointly we are having a fall themed tasting. She has this great ability to research and develop recipes, then slightly change them for a better pairing with a specific wine,
We will set the table, grouping the food into three areas: one for reds, one for whites, and one will consist of foods commonly found at tastings. This takes a lot of planning and some work - all of which we have fun doing together.
Last week, after burning some calories at the "Y" and not feeling like cooking, we decided we would go to O'mei China Bistro on Naples Boulevard. _ We had seen O'mei for several months and always meant to try it, but ended up someplace else. Today was the day! What a great find! Why did we wait so long? We ordered Mango Prawns, a brilliant Chilean Sea Bass and a great Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc to drink with the seafood! Without a doubt, this was the best SB I have tasted this year, It was a 2014 - a good vintage and arriving fresh, fruity and vibrant! _
As you might expect, the Kim Crawford SB will definitely be one of the wines we pair.
Tasting day minus nine. Karen has told me her ideas for the food, and we then put our heads together and worked on the pairings. We want this to be a more specific and targeted tasting and one that our friends enjoy and hopefully learn a bit from it.
Tasting day minus five. The wine selection is complete. I took an inventory of the wines we had and selected four whites and four reds. The whites consist of two Chardonnays, one Sauvignon Blanc and one Pinot Grigio. Our chosen reds are two Cabernet Sauvignon, one Claret and two Chianti Classico. We are trying to make the wines and foods as perfectly compatible as we can.
One thing to keep in mind with any tasting and pairing is that your taste might be totally different from the person next to you. Your taste might also be different today than it was yesterday based on a variety of things. Tastings are subjective.
I like comparing several things when deciding on the wines we will drink. When comparing pricing, the lower priced wines might be preferred over the pricier ones - you never know. I also like to compare vintages and wine areas. I am trying to make sure we have wines from different vineyards, different countries, different vintages and with different price points.
So at T-3, we now have a concrete plan and have prepared a list of foods and wines to be used for the tasting. The list it is quite detailed.
Karen has selected four types of food: eggs, chicken, risotto, and crostini. She will prepare two sets of each food: one to be paired with the whites and one with the reds. They will each be prepared with different flavors, seasonings, accompaniments, etc. and we hope they enhance the wines with which they are paired (and vice versa)! It is quiet an extensive thought process and taste profile that has gone into our planning. We hope our guests enjoy it!
The third grouping of foods are what you might expect at a traditional wine tasting event: cheeses, salamis, crusty breads, grapes. Let's see what our guests think! Have we "over thought" the detailed pairings, or will it be totally worth it?
As you can see we have spent a few days planning and preparing for this event with a side benefit of using this as a learning experience. We want you to be able to benefit from this also. Once the tasting is over, we will give a brief report on the comments (positive and negative). We will also provide you with the tasting sheet our guests will receive so you can duplicate this tasting if you so desire.
The tasting sheet is very specific to this particular event and foods. The wines are our own opinion, based on our palates. The foods are what we know will pair well from previous tastings and some new ideas.
If it sounds like fun for you and your friends, Karen is happy to provide the recipes she used and I am happy to make suggestions for your wine choices.
We will let you know how it turns out! Until then, always drink what you enjoy and enjoy what you drink!