Monday, September 14, 2009

Rant: Give Me Food With My Wine

There is a general, and significant, difference between Europe and the U.S. when it comes to wine. For most Europeans, wine is integrally linked with food. They generally do not drink it on its own, but only when paired with something to eat. In the U.S. though, it is far more common to drink wine on its own. Wine is not seen as something that must be had with food.

To each their own, but people in the U.S. may miss out on some excellent wines because they may not understand how European wines can taste so much better when paired with a meal. What might seem to be too acidic or too tannic might balance out when accompanied by food. This is simply a matter of better education, yet many wine stores in the U.S. are failing consumers in this regard.

When these stores hold wine tastings, it is rare that they provide food with the wine, especially food beyond simple cheese and crackers (which seem more a palate cleanser). How often have you gone to a local wine tasting where they provided meat, such as beef or chicken, with your wine? I know that I rarely see such tastings. Without such food, a tasting cannot do complete justice to some wines which were specifically produced to be best when paired with food.

So, consumers may turn away from certain wines they taste, only because they don't realize how well those wines would be if only they were accompanied by a delicious meal. Wine stores might actually sell more wines if they provided more food at their tastings. I have attended tastings that did provide food, and watched some of the other attendees embrace a wine they might normally not, only because the wine went so well with the provided food.

So wine stores, why aren't you providing more food at your tastings?

And to my readers, what are your experiences with food at local wine tastings?

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