8 Buyers, 1 Store, 8000 Wines

Friday, January 11, 2013

As wine professionals, we can get so caught up in tasting wines that we don't take time to experience those wines as they were meant to be experienced - that is, with food. We can "talk the talk" about provenance, vine age, biodynamci practices, or even pairings, but we don't always "walk the walk" when it comes to those pairings. Life is hectic, and like everyone else, we don't always go home and pull together muti-course dinners or prepare camera-ready dishes. 

I'm guilty as anyone of taking advantage of the city's wealth of takeout food. But on weekends, usually on Sundays, I try to "walk the walk" and prepare a meal alongside wine to see which pairngs really work. Or if I'm fortunate enough to be invited to a friend's house for dinner, I'll find out what's cooking and bring a wine I think might be appropriate. The results can be interesting - sometimes a wine that was delicious when sipped during a  tasting doesn't hold its own at the table. sometimes a wine lacks structural components, such as acid and tannins, that might help it stand up to fatty or highly seasoned foods. Sometimes a full-bodied, fruit-forward wine simply overwhelms a meal, even if a dish is very flavorful. Sometimes a "boring," everyday wine can surprise everyone as a shining complement to the meal. 

My cooking style tends towards French Country and Louisiana Creole, with the occasional attempt at Italian or German - so my wine choices can vary from the Rhône to the Loire Valley. As the new buyer for Italian whites, I’m looking forward to making more stabs at Italian cooking so that I’ll know firsthand how our selections work with what’s on your table from week to week. White wines from Italy are some of the most food-friendly wines in the world — often beautifully acidic, delightfully herbaceous, and occasionally even geeky, or “orange.” But there are more wines to drink and pair with than just Italian whites. I look forward to sharing my successful attempts to "walk the walk" and not just "talk the talk" with wines from across the world. The first course on my dinner table: a simple roast chicken with rosemary, served alongside a green salad and a bottle of Carussin Il Carica l'Asino Vino Bianco 2011. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

-Beth Baye


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