Wine Pairing, Made Simple

I’m trying to keep an open mind about this….. I got a press release this morning about a new line of wines called Wines That Love™.  It sounds a bit odd at first, but read that as “Wines That Love [fill in the blank].” And you can fill in that blank with Pizza, Roasted Chicken, Grilled Salmon, Grilled Steak or Pasta with Tomato Sauce at this point (with more menu items to come). 

These new wines go down a path that nearly turns food and wine pairing on its head, selling the bottle based pretty much solely on what’s for dinner. No Wines That Lovethinking required. Chicken? Grab the bottle with the bird on the front. Novel, to be sure. But perhaps no more so than other labels that have taken any and all pretension or intimidation out of the wine-buying experience, such as the Mad Housewife label.

It might be easy to dismiss this as a sort of hokey operation, just skimming the surface of wine appreciation. Which, honestly, was my first reaction at reading the release earlier today. Interestingly, the Wines That Love wine director has quite a pedigree. Ralph Hersom is the former wine director from Le Cirque in New York, and before that he was at Windows on the World. He offers good tasting notes on the web site, discussing tannins, varietals, intensity, acidity. So for the initiated among those new wine buyers, there is a bit of an education to develop the future wine-lovers. And that’s certainly a plus.

I really am not a wine geek at all, nor do I consider myself to be a food snob. I did, after all, write a post about Tater Tots, and admit in another that I occasionally give in to a Domino’s delivery. More lowbrow disclosures are sure to come. On the subject of food and wine pairing, my MO is generally to not follow any particular rules but instead drink what I want with what I want. So I guess the whole guise of selling a bottle of wine tied to just one type of food seems more limiting than perspective-opening. After all that pizza may have goat cheese, artichokes and pine nuts, leaning more toward a moderately rounded white wine, maybe an unoaked chardonnay. Or it could be a pizza with lush tomato sauce, roasted peppers and coppa, calling more for a sangiovese or other medium to light red wine. The “drink this bottle with roast chicken and this one with grilled steak” premise just seems a bit simplistic to me. So much is variable.

But hey, if this is a means to make more people comfortable with buying wine, versus not buying it at all because they find it intimidating, I’m all for it. Maybe this is the right answer for a big cadre of new wine consumers. Company president Tracy Gardner states in the release, “My goal is to double wine consumption in this country by solving the most difficult issue consumers face, ‘what goes with what?’ Wine That Loves solves that problem.”

Perhaps it does. At suggested retail of $12.99, this certainly is an easy group of wines to experiment with. I’ll give a bottle or two a try when I can. Current distribution is limited to New York, Rhode Island, Michigan, Wisconsin, Maryland, D.C. and Massachusetts, according to their web site. If you live in one of those states, the site helps you track down a local retailer.

Cheers!

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