How many different grape varieties have you tried? Join the Great Australian Varietal Challenge.
The full title of the book is Daring Pairings: A Master Sommelier Matches Distinctive Wines with Recipes from His Favorite Chefs
Master sommelier Evan Goldstein has written this book as a follow up to his Perfect Parings book which covers pairing wines with more conventional grape varieties.
In Daring Pairings the author has selected 17 white wine varieties and 19 red wine varieties and built a comprehensive guide to pairing food with these wines.
A couple of introductory chapters give a through background to the principles of food pairing including details of what the author identifies as the keys to understanding wine and the keys to understanding food.
Each chapter in the main body of the book is devoted to a particular variety, nearly all of which are grown in Australia and are categorised as "alternative" by Vinodiversity.
The content of every varietal chapter follows a similar pattern.
The grape variety is introduced with such information as pronunciation, common synonyms, similar varieties its typical flavours, blending partners and global distribution.
There follows a description of the various styles of wine made from the grape under the heading Vintners Choices.
The nitty gritty of each chapter is a detailed discussion of food pairing with the targeted variety, including a negative list of food matched not recommended.
Prominent producers of the variety from the US and the varieites native habitat are listed.
The chapter is concluded with a recipe by the chef of a major American restaurant, preceded by a discussion between the Author and the chef as to the suitability of the pairing. Each dish is illustrated in colour.
The title of the book implies that it is mainly about food, but in fact it contains considerable amounts of information about the 36 varieties described. Even if you regard yourself as an expert on varietal wines you will find something of interest here.
I like the recipes less than the rest of the book. This probably reflects the fact that they are chefs recipes and I am a fairly slapdash (if somewhat daring) home cook. But this weekness is more than made up for by the volume nad quality of the general advice given for each variety.
Overall I highly recommend this book. You can get it delivered to your door for the price of a single main course in a moderately priced restaurant.
2 bottles each of some stunning alternative reds.
Nero d'Avola, Touriga, Zweigelt and more.
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