Author: Tim Barakat
Before we get into the nitty gritty; Go open the bottle of wine you plan on having and give it some time to come out of its glass shell.
We should first discuss weather or not you have the ability to distinguish various nuances in the wine you are drinking and or pairing, with food.
If you can, great!
It won't be any worse than peeling a band aid off a hairy spot on your body; and if you can't. Ummm, you should probably just rip off a recipe card located on or near the wine varietal you chose and call it a day.Wines need to breath for a while before you can really tell much about them, aside from things like certain fruits or the fact that you get a heavy "jammy" smell. What's a "jammy" smell you ask?
Well go to your fridge and pull out your jar of jam. The fragrance is very sweet, heavy notes of ripe fruit and perhaps vanilla or certain baking spices. You get the idea.
Lets say for times sake, that you have had your vino open for an hour or so. Taste it. Not frigin guzzle it, but actually taste it. Let it swish around your palate and then slowly swallow. Sounds almost filthy, I can't help that....
Ok, stop for a second and try to use what you know about various spices, herbs and flowers to help you to navigate the various things you are experiencing in your mouth. (so easy to go straight into the gutter with this isn't it.)
So lets just say that now you discovered there is a small hint of thyme. Well how can you enhance the tasters ability to realize that flavor profile? ADD A TON OF THYME TO SOMETHING! DUH.
Sorry, bit over the top. The idea is to bring forth those subtle flavors. You want to enhance the flavor of the wine, not take away from it by going off into left field...
Adding fresh thyme leaves to finish a dish can have the same effect as adding a bunch of thyme to something during its cooking process. As with everything though, try to be mindful of how strong the essential oil is that permeates from the herb that you use. Rosemary will enhance most zinfandel's and Cabernets. Especially those varietals that come from regions known for giant, in-your-face, "fruit bombs"!
As in areas like Paso Robles, California. Rosemary can really push things along, but you go ape shit with the stuff and you will blow your palate out so fast that you might as well just order some crappy pizza ( you want to be able to taste quality pizza) and just get drunk. Your mouth will be so f 'in numb that you won't be able to taste a dame thing anyways.
So that in theory is the basic concept. Open something nice you bought, perhaps from here at Justin Vineyards and Winery (wink.) Let it breath for at least an hour or so.
Experience the wine and then gingerly go about creating flavor profiles that help pass along the small, less noticeable features in the wine.
Over-the-top = bad.
Just below the radar = hooray.