Making Dinner Even Better

 

Can the food experiences you create get even better? Yes, they can. In fact, a lot better.

 

From what I’ve seen, serious home cooks spend tons of time, effort, and energy on the food part of the good food experiences they create.  They use all their taste and skill and hard-earned knowledge to create delicious and beautiful good food experiences. 

But when it comes to the wine they serve with their food, they leave it to their wine store.  They go to their wine store and ask the person in the store to recommend a wine for whatever they’re cooking or serving.  And usually, as I’ve seen tons of times, these folks think the food they’ve cooked is amazing, but they think their wine is “okay” or “…not bad”.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  The wine can be amazing too.  And if it is, the whole food experience will be so much better and create so much more pleasure.

In some of the research and testing I’ve done, I’ve seen that when I ask people to compare a wine their wine store recommended side by side with a bunch of examples of the same type of wine, the wine they choose is never the one their wine store recommended. And by a bunch I mean 20-30 different examples, that I ask them to choose from to find the one they love best; which one they’d be happy, excited, and most proud to serve to their guests. The wine store never wins. 

This is not the wine store’s fault and this is no criticism of the wine store.  It’s just the combination of the fact that stores can only carry so many bottles of each type of wine, each bottle is going to have a different taste, and the store surely doesn’t know which wines you love best. 

So, how then can you pick the bottle that you will absolutely love?

Here’s what you have to do.  Go to as many stores as possible in your market. No fewer than 10 of the very best stores. And “best” means the stores with the most selection and with the highest quality in your market. Then round up as many bottles as possible of the type of wine you want to serve with your food. You’ll need 20-30 different bottles. 

If you don’t know what type of wine you want to serve with your food, just Google around and you’ll find lots of ideas to suit the food you're planning to cook.  Pick just one type of wine type (varietal or blend) and from one specific region (not generally speaking like California or Southern Rhone Valley; but specific like Russian River Valley or Chateauneuf-du-Pape).  Also make the region you pick one of the best regions in the world for that type of wine, and pick just one vintage of the many you will probably see in the market. 

Buy these wines, taste them all side by side, and see which one you love best and which one you want to buy and serve based on both price and how much you like it.

I’m doing this for Pinot Noir in a couple of weeks and instead of doing all the research, running around from store to store, and spending $1,000 or more, you can just drop by and taste all the Pinot Noirs I’ve rounded up. We'll be tasting 2015 Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, btw. You'll be able to see for yourself which ones you love and would be proud to serve to your friends.

And just so you know, when I do this, there is no bias at all in the selection of wines I round up.  I don’t sell wine.  I don’t make any money on the wines and no one in the wine trade is paying me.   This is an unbiased round-up of what’s out there in the market.  When I do this, my only goal is that I want you to drink or serve wine you absolutely love, every time. And that your food experiences to be the best they can be.

How will this make your dinner experience better?  I’ve found that whichever wine people love best from this big round-up of wines or structured mega tasting, is usually the one they also think tastes the best with their food.

If you’re making a dish that calls for a New World Pinot Noir and you come to this event and pick an RRV Pinot Noir you love, it is very, very likely that you will love drinking that wine with your food. Ultimately the whole experience will create much more pleasure than it would if the wine was one that you thought was just okay. 

And more than that, you’ll have some great stories to tell about what you tasted and how you picked your wine.

One final thing.  If you’re wondering if you can taste this many wines and tell which one tastes the best, the answer is yes.  I’ve seen and helped lots of people do it.