Can you compare grapes to boyfriends you had in high school?
During one of our recent Virtual Wine Night Wednesday events, I was joined by my friends at the Burning Kiln Winery in Norfolk County. Dan Barker, a.k.a Tour Experience Maker, and Karen Matthews, General Manager, "broke into" the winery after hours to take us through a virtual experience and gave us some great pairing tips along the way.
If you missed this episode, I put together a little video you can check out. I will warn you though, I was not very skilled at using Zoom when I first started doing these events (let's call it acquiring new skills during Covid-isolation), but was able to capture some great snipits from our introduction to Burning Kiln's innovative approach to wine making, the history of the farm and why they call their Cab Franc, Cab Frank! They have a great story, check out the video to find out!
In this particular episode, Dan compares grapes to the boyfriends you had in high school and it’s pretty hilarious! He tells it way better, but here’s the basics that gave us a little laugh, AND made understanding how to pair food with grapes that much easier!
The general idea when pairing wines with food is to consider the weight of the food and the wine. Heavy wines can handle heavy or rich foods, where as lighter wines are generally better with lighter fare. Listed below are the "boyfriends of high school" as per some of the popular line up of wines found at Burning Kiln Winery, and the best pairings suggested for each.
Riesling = The Straight shooter
Dependable and loyal, and the most popular ‘grape in the world!’
Off-dry Riesling is best with salted meats, sharp cheeses, and according to Dan, the ONLY wine that goes with pickles.
Sweet Riesling is great with salted fish, smoked salmon, or a cheese plate. Blue cheese has bite and creaminess, which the sweet edge cuts through and makes it an awesome pairing.
Chardonnay = The Really Nice Guy
Has no idea what he wants, so if you're lucky enough to get him, you can turn him into anything you want
The Cureman's Chardonnay is a heavy wine, making it great with extra old cheddar. Plain salted potato chips was the most surprising pairing to most, and honestly is one of the simplest pairings to put together! The fat of the chips stands up to the chardonnay for a great taste bud experience.
Pinot Noir = The Bad Boy
Never does what you want it to do, but you keep coming back to it
Don't we all know this one! 😉 Pinot Noir is lighter in weight and earthy, the Prime Pinot Noir from BKW pairs well with peanuts, is great with fish, and mushrooms (mushroom risotto was highly recommended) and for the snackers, is great with popcorn.
Cabernet Franc = The Captain of the Football Team
Has lots of natural talent, and just needs a little coaching
The Cab Franc, known to BKW as Cab Frank, is a full bodied wine great with red meats and is decadent with some good dark chocolate; elevate the experience using salted dark chocolate. Mmm yum!
Merlot = The Cuddler
Just like a teddy bear, he wants to give you a nice warm hug
Smooth and deep, this M-1 Merlot is a snacking delight when paired with bruschetta, prosciutto, and smooth cheeses - Karen highly recommended the Merlot BellaVitano, available at the Dover Cheese Shop.
So there you have it, a few really great suggestions to get your summer wine and food game started right, and maybe a review of the boyfriends you likely had in your youth! It sure makes learning about wines much more fun, and a little comical too.
You can use these pairing suggestions to varying brands to match the grape, you'll just need to be mindful that the level of sweetness of the wine may impact the pairing, but this gives you a really good starting point.
If you'd like to try the wines listed, simply shop Burning Kiln online, and use code Buzz at checkout so they know I sent you there! 🙂
Check out the list of upcoming Virtual Wine Night Wednesdays here, and subscribe below for info about upcoming events!