As my regular reader knows, I’m not that big on food and wine pairings. I’m against anything that makes wine more difficult to enjoy, and the obsession with getting things “right” is one of the reasons people think wine is too complicated to bother with. Also, I don’t want to seem fussy about my wine drinking, preferring to be the sort who pulls a bottle off the shelf on a whim, just the right wine at just the right moment without a lot of planning.
There is a downside to this devil-may-care attitude. Every now and then, I make a positive ass out of myself. For example:
Two nights ago we had 8 people for dinner. I made a roast pork loin plastered with a quarter-inch-thick emulsion of garlic, olive oil, white pepper and herbs fresh from the garden. I did a mushroom and rosemary sauce and some other junk to keep the table from seeming empty.
There is a saying that if you don’t choose anything, you choose everything. Since I don’t match wine and food, I ended up with the following chilling in the fridge, just in case they were needed: two different dry Rieslings, an Entre-Deux-Mers, a Torrontés, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a white Burgundy, a Rueda, and a Greco di Tufo. At the last minute, I tossed in an alternate NZSB and an Albariño. With back-up bottles, there were close to two cases chilling and ready to indulge my whimsy.
Which was how I came to be standing outside my refrigerator, apologizing to one of my guests for having nowhere to put the delicate, temperature-sensitive dessert she had so thoughtfully spent much of the afternoon assembling.
“There’s no room in the fridge, I’m afraid,” I said. “Would you like a glass of wine?”
“I don’t know,” she said, setting the tray down next to the microwave. “It really should be kept cold. It kind of melts if it doesn’t.”
“I’ll turn the air conditioning up,” I said. “What kind of wine would you like?”
“Do you have any Pinot Noir?”
Twenty bottles of white chilled and ready and she asks for a red. This would frustrate a normal person, but in my case, I had a nice Central Coast Pinot out, along with four other reds I thought might be interesting and wanted to have for just this sort of emergency.
So, if you’re keeping score at home, in my kitchen the size of a shower stall I have 15 different wines ready to be served, and no place to put a sculpture of raspberry and chocolate ganache that was already starting to lose its joie de vivre.
Were I the kind of person who matched wine with food, I would not have been in such a ludicrous position. I’d have had several bottles of the same wine chilling discreetly in the bottom-right corner down by the salad crisper and a couple of bottles of something red waiting on the table. My guests would have been perfectly happy and their dessert wouldn’t have turned to slush.
But because I am not the sort to fuss over pairing food and wine, I made a complete ass out of myself.
So I’m thinking maybe I should pay more attention to wine and food pairing. I think if I did, I might have more friends.