|Food 99/1: New Year's Eve delicacies demand superb wine pairings|
|Wednesday, 28 December 2011 12:26|
With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, menus filled with delicacies are being prepared everywhere. New Year’s Eve is the one time of year when extravagance comes almost as an expectation, a salute to the year’s events and accomplishments. With delicacies like truffles, foie gras, oysters, caviar and lobster, a superb wine pairing is only suiting.
Sauternes is a region in Bordeaux, France that is famous for allowing their Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes to take advantage of a natural mold late in the season to make the grapes shrivel on the vine. This mold (botrytis cinerea) causes this shriveling that is known as “noble rot”. This “noble rot” causes dehydration of the grapes and concentrates the natural sugars. When these grapes are used in wine making, the product is a white wine with a dark straw yellow color full of acidity, sweetness and notes of flowers.
Chateau d’Yquem is the most famous of the Sauternes houses in Bordeaux and a bottle of an excellent vintage can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars (which is why most people opt for a glass at a restaurant!). It pairs with the foie gras perfectly because of the tart and sweet acidity of the Sauternes cuts through the richness and complements it at the same time. A Canadian ice wine or Austrian Kracher are good alternatives.
Oysters have two classic pairings: a Sancerre or a Champagne. Sancerre is a region in the Loire Valley of France that produces a wine from Sauvignon Blanc grapes called Sancerre. Sancerre wines are bone dry, crisp, have high acidity and notes of gooseberries and peaches. This crisp wine pairs with the salinity of oysters with sheer perfection.
Briny oysters call for a lighter bodied champagne (most Non-vintage also labeled as NV are lighter than vintage year champagnes) and more creamy oysters can stand up to the fuller bodied vintage year champagnes or other sparkling wines (see my article on Champagne and Sparkling wines). Toasty, bubbly citrus notes of any champagne are a great pairing with the freshness of oysters.
There are two classic pairings for caviar: Champagne or vodka. The argued “masters of caviar” are the Russians, and it is a strict rule that caviar is paired with vodka. The ice cold vodka is said to underline the smooth taste of the roe. Cold, dry champagne also highlights the salinity and smoothness of the roe. This indulgence is a great way to ring in the new year!
9/1 Food Service Management in Freeport is owned and run by Tim & Rebecca Tibbitts. 99/1 is a full service catering business serving scrumptious offerings with top quality ingredients. 99/1 also specializes in cooking classes, guided wine tastings and tutorials, drop off dinners and in home catering. www.ninetynineone.com 553-2426
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