Monday, May 17, 2021

Dan Berger: Tips for Serving Wine with Food

 Wine purists will tell you that the wine you choose for a dinner should match the food that's on the table. Others say, "Poppycock! Drink anything you like with any food." Riesling with steak? Hey, if you like it, go for it.

    It certainly would challenge the wine, though. I can't imagine riesling with steak, but I did know a man some years ago who always had a dry gewurztraminer from the Alsace region of France with veal. He had tasted that combination as a young man in Europe, and to him, it was a match of perfection. More about this later.

    Then again, how you serve the wine could make a huge difference in its enjoyment.

    Assume the owner of Chateau Margaux were to pour you his perfectly stored 1945 Margaux into crystal stemware in the dining room of the chateau. Under those conditions, the wine would certainly taste better than had it been poured into a cardboard coffee cup and served to you while changing a flat on the freeway.

    Imagine how a wine tastes when you are standing in a chateau wine cellar. The winemaker draws out of the cask a sample of an as-yet-unbottled wine. It will taste pretty interesting since it is not only closer to the grape but also in the presence of the winemaker. A bit of gloss must rub off.

     You're savoring the moment as much as you are the wine. Creating a context can help the wine show best.

    For instance, if you're serving a red wine with dinner and the room is warm, try chilling the wine. I'm not suggesting serving red wines cold. But cool wines usually taste better than warm ones, especially when the temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. 

    Don't like the initial aroma of a wine? Don't assume it's bad. Perhaps it is very young and still exhibits a bit of an "off" aroma. A few more months in the bottle would help, but you have already pulled the cork. What now?

    Decant it. Simply splash the wine (white or red) into a decanter or clean water pitcher. The simple act of splashing it around could make it open up a lot faster.

    This also works for imported wines that may still be suffering from a bit of a jolt from the journey to the United States.

    Does the red wine seem a little alcoholic? Far too many wines are these days, and in this case, the decanter is really your friend. Splash the wine around for a while, pouring from one decanter to another for a few minutes. This actually allows some of the alcohol to evaporate. Some winemakers believe you can get rid of between a half percent and 1% of alcohol this way.

    If that still doesn't do it, add an ice cube. Not only will it keep the wine a bit cooler but it'll also drop the alcohol a bit. Sure, some purist may squawk, but it's your wine, and if it tastes good to you, the ice cube will only offend the other guy.

    Picking the wine to pair with the food can also enhance how the wine tastes. My old friend who liked the gewurztraminer with veal would only serve a mature wine with that dish. He said young gewurztraminer was too fragile to stand up to the veal.

    And he rarely served his white wines very cold. He liked them mature and cool, not near frozen.

    Wine of the Week: 2020 Balletto Rose, Russian River Valley ($20) -- A striking aroma of strawberries and cherries marks the nose of this delightful, basically dry rose wine from one of Sonoma County's top producers. Made exclusively of pinot noir and just released, it is a joy to sip on a patio and consume with dips and cheeses. The 2019 vintage of it remains just as good as it was last year.

     To find out more about Dan Berger and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



Anonymous said...

I prefer a flirty glass of Boons Farm with my Ribeye.

I try to save the other half of the bottle to enjoy the next morning as part of the "All American Breakfast" (Boons Farm and a Pop Tart).

Anonymous said...

@4:20 PM

I appreciate your humor but those of us that back in the day drank the wine to which you refer know that it's "Boone's Farm."

Anonymous said...

I am still disappointed that Ripple is not available. It went with everything or by itself.

Anonymous said...

Typical JJ reader: “I’ll take a case of Natural Light over wine any day.”

Anonymous said...

Not to worry 5:53.

I think I mentioned this last week, my ex was into Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers.

She would start guzzling those green bottles at 9 AM.

I had no problem with that ... as by 10:30 AM, she was buck naked ... while running the vacuum cleaner downstairs.

Anonymous said...

" Typical JJ reader: “I’ll take a case of Natural Light over wine any day.”"

Of course, it's pretty good!
(Not as good as PBR) ... but still good !!

Other than the proper way to ring a cowbell, I learned a few things at Mississippi State University before I left:

#1. Always trust the crop-duster pilots.
#2. Never, never, EVER argue with the Dairy Department.
#3. Moonshine does not exist in Starkville.
#4. Keep a case of Natural Lite in one's truck at all times.

Anonymous said...

#1: Justin Wilson, who's the only expert of which I ever heard, said to drink whatever kind you like and never mind the folks who suggest you drink something you don't prefer. He mostly drank Merlot with most of his meals. I've never found any wine I prefer over some other drinks, regardless of the meal.

#2: I don't see how adding an ice cube lowers the alcohol content. Dilutes yes, but all the alcohol is still in there.

Slingin' Bottles At Road Signs said...

In the early days, when I wanted a change from Miller ponies, I'd usually go with a peach brandy in the half pint. That stuff, straight from a paper sack handed out the sliding window of a roadside joint, was superb. Nothing goes better with a Slim Jim on a rainy evening. In fact, Ima go look in the cabinet NOW.

Anonymous said...

Is the featured wine even available in Mississippi? The legislature needs to do something to bring liquor sales into the 21st century and to eliminate ABC.
It is ridiculous that we limited to the few selections allowed by ABC and that the state is losing the revenue when we go out of state to buy good wine and liquor.

Anonymous said...

@8:08 AM - Good point! I remember an article from several years ago that the Gallo wines were still the best sellers in Mississippi according to the ABC. Maybe that is why the ABC doesn't care about expanding the wine list. Thank goodness for Martin Wine Cellar and Dorignac's, when going to New Orleans.

Shazam said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the ABC does not care which wines and liquors are sold in Mississippi. The wine and liquor distributors are responsible for the limited selections more often than not. The "good" stuff will always go to the major cities first and then trickle down if there is any left. There are many flaws in the current system mainly because the legislature has refused to pay for upgrades for well over 20 years, but that has nothing to do with selection. In fact, many stores have incredible selections that sit on the shelf while you shop next door. As far as alcohol taxes-there are 17 states with higher alcohol taxes than Mississippi including - wait for it - Alabama AND Louisiana.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to bust your bubble, but MS could save a lot of taxpayer money by allowing alcohol to be shipped, sold and taxed like any other item. The State of MS does not need to be a distributor.

As far as control states, there are 33 other states that do not act as an alcohol distributor

Anonymous said...

Has anyone attempted to use your liquor store of choice to purchase wine direct from a winery? I was in Lincoln Road last week and was told they don't really want to fool with it.

Shazam said...

10:01-Not dis-agreeing with you on that aspect. Just wanted to address the idea that they limit what is sold here.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS