We can read the online reviews, the producers information, the tasting notes, and even consult our friends, but eventually we have to stare down our wine racks and make an educated guess about which bottle will best compliment our meal.
The other night I found myself facing a dilemma. The meal. Two poblano peppers stuffed with chicken, rice and cheese. A healthy dose of home canned salsa and some salty, blue corn tortilla chips. I must have stood looking at my bottles for 20 minutes. This was a dish with loads of flavor. I finally decided on the 2010 Peterson Old School Zinfandel. As I opened the bottle I notice the top of the cork read, “no soulless wine.” I knew I’d need a wine with some serious soul to enhance this meal.
I sad down to eat and began working my way into the peppers. A few bites of the stuffing before cutting up the whole pepper; a little salsa here and the crunch of the chips. Every few bits I’d stop to taste the wine. The initial flavors remained and the finish was peppery, but the middle really fell off. My consideration of the wine continued as I finished eating, but half way through, I realized this bottle was not enhancing the meal. I set the glass aside, finished the meal and retired to the study to grade a few term papers. The glass and the bottle accompanied me.
As a post meal drink, the wine opened back up. The fruit returned and I’d almost say the glass achieved a cooling effect on my palate. The wine had soul and I can think of the other dishes I would pair with the wine. Something less spicy maybe a plate of dry rubbed pork ribs finished on the grill, or grilled strip steak. I was happy I’d opened the bottle. Sometimes we have to miss the mark to discover if the soul of our wine compliments the soul of our dish. Luckily with these mistakes, there is still wine!