Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Yellow Tail Tree Free Chardonnay

I bought my first bottle of Yellow Tail Chardonnay today. I'll admit, I was drawn in by those totally cool commercials before the holidays. You know, the ones about Yellow Tail Chardonnay being the "go to" chardonnay?

I bought the unoaked version, or as they say on the label - "tree free." Cute. How did I like it? Meh, it's OK. Hints of citrus & pineapple. I'm guessing it would be refreshing on a warm summer day, as it's similar in acidity and taste to a Pinot Grigio. Paired with the right foods, it would probably be a fine choice. Personally, though, I think I'd rather reach for a Pinot Grigio - it's just a more interesting grape that "unoaks" better, in my opinion. There, I just made up my own wine verb!

The price certainly screamed "try me!" I spent all of $11.99 on the big 1.5 liter bottle, mainly because I needed more white wine on hand to cook with, but also because I was curious about all the hype. Besides, I've had Yellowtail before - their affordable Shiraz-Grenache blend is one of my own cheap affordable go-to reds.

For me going forward - Yellow Tail "Tree Free" Chardonnay is good (really good, actually!) to cook with, and take the occasional sip of when nothing else is on hand. Inexpensive enough to try if you're curious and eager to find affordable wines.

Have you tried this wine? Comment! Let us know what you think!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Basics of Wine & Food Pairing Part 1

Tired of being snubbed for your love of sweet wine? Do you find it difficult to understand how anyone could enjoy a glass of chardonnay or merlot, when all you do is pucker or wince at the thought? Have you secretly wished you could learn to like “normal” wines to pair with your meals like everyone else?

There is hope for you, my friend, and it all starts with changing your thinking about wine as a stand-alone cocktail versus wine as an ingredient in a meal. That’s the first thing we’ll talk about today - how to go about demystifying wine and food pairings.

1) Everyone’s tastes are different.

This will either come as a shock or a relief to some of you. If you crack open a bottle of chardonnay to go with that steak on the grill, the wine cops will not come to your door. They don’t exist - although, you and I probably know a handful who think they know everything about wine and believe everyone should like what they like. Invite these folks to dinner with caution, and if you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you. I digress...

Everyone’s tastes are different! Rule number one, the most important rule, is this - if you enjoy it, drink it with confidence!

2) Paired with the wrong foods, a great wine will be rendered unpalatable.

I dare you to try this experiment sometime. Get yourself a bottle of really nice Pinot Grigio. Now get yourself some green grapes. Wine - grapes - hey! They go together, right? Grapes with grapes? Well, try a bite of a grape and then a sip of the wine. You tell me if they go together. *Shudder* Please comment below with your thoughts if you actually tried this, lol! I’ve not met a single person who enjoyed this combination, but if you did, I want to know about it!

3) Paired with the right foods, a moderately priced wine can be fabulous!

When an acidic wine is paired with an acidic food (Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese, for example) the result is divine! Get yourself that some bottle of Pinot Grigio and a lemon wedge. Take a bite of the lemon, then a sip of the wine. You’ll notice the acid of the lemon and the acidity in the wine cancel each other out, and all you taste is the pleasant fruitiness of the wine.

The same goes for reds and the tannins they contain. 
Pair a tannic wine with a tannic food, like walnuts, for example, and the result is completely unpalatable. Go ahead, try it if you need an excuse to buy another bottle of wine (really, honey, I’m doing research...). Now take that same red and pair it with a food that LOVES a tannic wine - something fatty. Fats help to mellow out the tannins, and the result is yummy, fruity and oh so pleasant, even decadent. Pair that Syrah or Cabernet with a piece of cheddar, or dark chocolate, or a nice marbled piece of beef. Ever wonder why it is that red wine goes so well with beef? That’s why!

In Part 2, we’ll talk more about great food and wine pairings. In the meantime, what are some of the successful pairings you’ve experienced? Because (remember #1) everyone’s tastes are different, please share so we can all learn and expand our enjoyment of great foods and wines!