Awhile back I was invited to attend the grand re-opening of the classroom inside Southern Glazer’s Wine And Spirits of Nevada. I was wowed by the very educated and talented teachers, the syllabus of classes for their clients (some are also open to the public and interested press) and the well-lit and inviting classroom itself. I took copious notes for an article about the re-opening, and read over the nicely bound syllabus from home later. I selected a class on Wine and Food Pairing, assuming I would know everything there was to pairing but wanted to have an open mind. Good thing my mind was open as when I took the class I filled it up with incredible information and “a ha” moments. The students in the classroom, all clients from different bar and restaurant establishments, also took home some amazing ideas to share with their staff.
Let me first give you my social media that I ran the next day. Below that I will share a few “magic tricks” that I learned that home bartenders as well as restaurateurs, can incorporate. If you want the short story, see my social media post and photos here.
Went to a “Principles of Food and Wine Pairing” class at Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits of Nevada yesterday, led by Joe Phillips, Master Sommelier and the Director of Product Education…and do you think I learned something new? YES, I SURE DID! There were several “magic tricks” that Phillips and Chef Scott McCarter showed us that were amazing “a ha” moments for everyone in the room! Stay tuned to EveWine101.com …to learn a few tricks yourself! In the meantime, for those in the industry and those who are not, some classes are offered for free so check them out!
What We Learned
Master Somm Joe Phillips and Chef McCarter did a fabulous job selecting the wine, food and condiments for the class. I was familiar with classic pairings, like red wine and fish – Pinot Noir with salmon – but the buck stopped there.
- Food pairing is difficult to generalize, as there are lots of variations in the same country and everyone’s palate is different.
- You may find that a “wine you hate” will become likable in a different pairing.
- You can use products in your own kitchen, as well as trial and error, to find pairings you like.
- There are “Harmonizers” like lemon juice and oils, and “Antagonists” like umami, chili and sugar, that when paired with a food changes how the wine will taste.
Examples: Lemon juice, when tasted before tasting a Pinot Grigio, accentuates the fruit and body in the wine. But lemon juice before a Cabernet Sauvignon only serves to raise bitterness in the wine. Bitter chocolate with a Cabernet increases the tannins, again, not a good pairing. A taste of simple syrup before having a sweet Moscato wine lessens the sweetness in the wine. But simple syrup with a Pinot Gris makes the wine sour and bitter. Aioli dressing with salmon and a Cabernet works better than without the Aioli. Horseradish with a filet and a Cab heightens tannins, add the Aioli and the horseradish works. Moscato wine with a filet and a chili sauce…everyone was surprised at how good that tasted, and red wine is diminished when served with the same steak and sweet sauce.
About the Classes
Phillips said that the classes mostly occur on Thursdays, they are multi-sessions and last about 90 minutes each.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.