When sitting down at a restaurant, many people, start with the food and next try to choose a wine to suit. Wine tasting is subjective. One’s palate knows what it likes and what it doesn’t.
Wouldn’t it be wiser to choose a wine that we love, have a sip and THEN find a food item to suit…? Have we been doing it wrong all along?!?
It was an intimate dinner and educational series on how to pair wines and food, with a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon. The evening also involved many amazing pours of wine. Yes, please.
Several weeks prior to this event, I had stopped by the Sequoia Grove Winery, when in Napa, and decided to try their ‘Taste for Cabernet Experience.’
This educational wine tasting seminar was a real eye opener for me. I have attended my fair share of food & wine pairings + a few more…haha. The Sequoia experience was one of a small handful that I believe gave visitors something to ‘take away’ on pairing food and wine at a restaurant.
Lessons that can be applied in everyday situations. If you start thinking about wine traits as flavor ingredients, it becomes easier to pair them with a meal.
It is the wine first.
The Taste for Cabernet Experience at Seqouia Grove in Napa is one of few tastings that have taught me how to apply what I learned when choosing a dish from a menu. Who needs a Somm… when after a lesson at Sequoia Grove with Dean… one can choose wine and food pairings like a pro? Chin Chin…
While at the winery, guests participate in a unique sensory evaluation guided taste. Compared to the standard small bites paired with differing varietals, Wine Guru Dean pairs the 6 different taste components by representing one of each on the plate.
Guests are asked to sip the Cab first and then try the various bites to see which types of tastes complement the flavor profile of the wine and which taste components change the wine so drastically that they should be avoided. When pairing a dish with wine, consider the acid balance between the food and the wine.
Try pairing food by letting the characteristics of your wine suggest your food.
When prepping for the Cabernet Culinary Challenge with Chef John Ash, I tasted Cabernet for 3 days straight along with small bites. Whew…the things I endure. Life in Wine Country is rough, but I made it through.
I can’t say I won the main event but it was terrific to have Chef Ash educate us in such an intimate setting. I am a big fan of his work, food, etc and he had my full attention.
A one-of-a-kind culinary competition and tasting event involving legends – like wines from Napa Valley and a food education by the Father of Wine Country Cuisine itself – is hard to pass up. I was paired up on a team of 4 and Go!
The winners of the competition received a beautiful piece of artwork and a magnum of wine from Sequoia Grove. All of the attendees went home with a beautiful bottle of wine to practice with and a smile on their face as well. Sequoia Grove and Cinch PR are both wonderful hosts.
The dinner took place at the SF Wine Center in San Francisco which was a terrific setting for the guests to mingle and get to know one another as they arrived. At the long table next to the kitchen, the guests also have the opportunity to get to know the Chefs one on one.
Taste Components Chart
- Acidity This pairs well with sweet or high in fat foods
- Fatty food needs one of 2 things – a highly acidic or high alcohol wine to hold up to the high fat levels
- Bitter With wine that is ‘tannic’ it is best and always should be balanced with sweetness
- Salty Use sparingly as necessary to keep sharpness in food, but don’t compete with acidity too much
- Sweet wines and sweet foods need a little acidity
- Alcohol can be used to cut through fatty foods or balance a sweet dish.
From the Chef John Ash Website – About Me Page:
“In addition to being a renowned chef, author, and food and wine educator, many refer to Chef John Ash as the “Father of Wine Country Cuisine”. In 1980 he opened his namesake restaurant, John Ash & Company, in Santa Rosa, CA. It was the first restaurant in Northern California wine country to focus on local, seasonal ingredients used to create dishes that complemented the wines being made in the region. It continues to be critically acclaimed today.
Currently John travels the world teaching cooking classes to both home cooks and professionals. His passion for teaching has been rewarded.”
“Sequoia Grove is a family-owned winery founded in 1979 in a 110-year old barn beneath a grove of Sequoia trees in Rutherford, Napa Valley. It is here where we’ve honed our craft of creating world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and other Napa Valley wines that emphasize elegance, finesse, structure and balance. Our consistent philosophy of making wines with varietal character that are reflective of the land helped establish Sequoia Grove as one of the premier Cabernet Sauvignon producers in Napa Valley.
Our 24-acre Estate Vineyard and 50-acre Tonella Ranch Vineyard are both located in the heart of Rutherford, where the superb climate and gravelly-loam soils impart distinct flavor in the Bordeaux varieties.”