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Knock-your-socks-off wine pairings

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Knock-your-socks-off wine pairings

carswell | Feb 7, 2008 06:07 PM

Occasionally you hit upon a food and wine paring that simply awes you, that leaves you drop-jawed. A pairing where the wine and the food amplify each other, are greater than the sum of their parts.

I'm not talking here about "pretty good is good enough" matches but rather pairings you'll never forget. ("I remember clearly the day that I became convinced of the gastronomic need to find exactly the right wine for the right food. For years, I'd been content to make sure my matches were good enough -- for acceptable matches offer a great deal of pleasure. But the sommelier at Lucas-Carton in Paris turned me into a fiend for perfection when he served four wines with four cheeses with a precision that can only be described as surgical. It was the cheese course of my life, and I'll never forget it." -David Rosengarten in *Red Wine with Fish*)

Here's a thread for recording them. Not general pinciples, mind you. Not "Chardonnay is THE lobster wine." Nope, specific vintages of specific wines with specific dishes ON AN AS-YOU-ENCOUNTER-THEM BASIS.

All this is prompted by a fortuitous match this evening, one of my best in years. The dish was a classy (but store-bought!) veal marengo made with veal, mushrooms, bell peppers, pearl onions, veal demi-glace and assorted herbs. I'd been thinking of opening a Merlot-dominated Bordeaux or a Bourgueil but a French sommelier's guide insisted Côtes du Rhône was the red way to go. Fortunately, I had a 2004 CDR from Vieille Juilienne (a fabulous under-the-radar producer, who also makes a knockout Châteauneuf du Pape). *Coup de foudre*! The wine added a spiciness the veal was lacking. The mellow and savoury veal tamed the wine's alcohol and brought out a complex herby fruitiness that wasn't there on its own. Conversation stopped. Time stood still. Definiitely greater than the sum of the parts.

Please share your own awe-inspiring pairings as you encounter them.

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