Wine: The Food Enhancer

January 23rd, 2010 • 3 Comments

Spice up your life! If you enjoy food, then wine will come naturally. It’s part of the seasoning of your meal. Think of wine as a way to enhance the flavors of food. As a full-time wine professional over at TasteDC and about to be released author of I Drink on the Job: A Refreshing Perspective on Wine I constantly get questions from new wine drinkers about food and wine pairing. My overall philosophy is that wine and food is a synergy: 1 + 1 should equal MORE than 2. I argue that this is the same way with spices and the cooking preparation of your dish. Chefs will often add spices and taste as they go which helps to layer flavors and adjusts the flavor of the dish. Wine has dual purposes as well: it wakes up your taste buds before you begin eating primarily with acidity, and it accentuates flavors in food. If this sounds complicated, remember – no one has ever died from a bad wine and food pairing, it’s a low-risk proposition, even if wine and food don’t pair well, you can still experience pleasure!

My suggestion is that since wine and food pairing is an art form at best, wine consumers should experiment. What works for you, may not work for me and vice-versa. Just as chefs are adding new combinations of spices and flavorings to their dishes, new wine and food pairing synergies will be discovered. I like to think of it as exploration – new adventurers are breaking out of the mold of old ways of thinking and discovering new ways to enjoy the pleasures of wine. Just like not every explorer discovered something of value or importance, not all wine and food matches will work. But why not experiment and possibly make a discovery? The world of wine and food adventures is much safer than crossing the Atlantic on a galley, the worst mutiny that could occur is wine critics and the wine “order” could ignore you or denigrate you, but with the new world of social media – who needs them anyway? Set sail my friend to a new world of Tasting Discovery – Cheers!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

3 Responses to “Wine: The Food Enhancer”

  1. Rocky Slaughter Says: January 25th, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Hey Charlie,

    I got to your blog through your DM to @kjwines.

    Great post about wine and food! I personally didn’t understand the hype behind wine until I had an expertly constructed food and wine pairing. Suddenly all the adjectives around wine finally made sense. At Kendall-Jackson, we have a Wine Center dedicated to enabling customers to experience a true food and wine pairing. You should stop by if you ever get the chance. We’re in Santa Rosa, California.

    My favorite quote about food and wine pairing comes from Hardy Wallace who writes http://www.dirtysouthwine.com. He said (not verbatim) “Ketchup is great by itself. Cereal is great by itself. But you don’t put Ketchup on your cereal, and likewise, you shouldn’t pair your wine with a food that doesn’t supplement or artfully contrast the wine’s flavors.”

    Looking forward to more!

  2. idrinkonthejob Says: January 26th, 2010 at 2:23 pm


    Thanks for your comment – I always like to say “no one has ever died from a bad food and wine pairing”, but then again, I’ve come close! Would love to see if my new book “I Drink on the Job: A Refreshing Perspective on Wine” could fit into your marketing efforts over at Kendall-Jackson – I’m kicking off the book launch on Monday, February 15th with Gary Vaynerchuk on Wine Library TV – would love to do a book tour of California, maybe you could somehow be a part of that?

    I have a complete chapter on wine and food pairing and I feel I have a unique approach – I organize many events with chefs, so I’m really a “foodie” as well a wine professional. I’m sort of in that missing middle between wine educator and chef, but I believe that if you understand balance in a dish, wine is a cinch.

    Look forward to hearing from you – Cheers!

    Charlie Adler, Author “I Drink on the Job” Book Release and Launch – February 2010 Blog: http://www.idrinkonthejob.com ph. (202)244-3700 Mobile (202)607-6036 1028 29th St., NW Washington, D.C. 20007

  3. Rocky Slaughter Says: January 26th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    We’ll have to see what we can do. Do you have an e-mail address we could contact you at?

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