Are you one? Should you be one? Do you know what one is?
You don’t need to be one to know that you enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner – or any meal for that matter. On the other hand an oenophile usually knows exactly which wines should be paired with which foods, much like our salt discussions right?
There are a number of blogs devoted specifically to pairings of wines. Unfortunately most of them focus on the which and not so much on the why. And that, in our opinion, is a travesty because there are many foods and dishes that can present entirely different flavor profiles based on the preparation. It’s not really as simple as saying, “pair a full-bodied red with beef, a light effervescing Pinot Gris with pork and duck, or a semi-dry white with chicken.” If you’ve been with us for any length of time you know that the same is true of salt. (maybe some day we’ll offer a Milic & Reeder-esque mockumentary on salt snobs – thanks for the laughs guys!)
Salt and wine are very similar in some respects. Here are just a few examples in support of that statement: There are many varieties of both wine and salt. The best of both are crafted by artisans. When using either in cooking, the cheap stuff just shouldn’t be used. And, both need to be properly paired for the greatest culinary enjoyment.
One of the aforementioned oenophiles is an independent blogger and wine writer, Ms. Meg Houston Maker. Having received a request from Palate Press, a well-known online wine magazine, Ms. Maker set out on a journey to discover the interactions and interplay between food and wine as they related to the over all flavor profile. During the course of her research she reached out to us asking for help in understanding exactly how (if at all) salt affects the acidity of wine.
We were more than happy to help her out. We provided a shortened treatise (ok, who are we kidding, a treatise is NEVER short) on the chemical interactions that occur when using unrefined v. refined sea salt. We also addressed the palate’s perception of sweet and acidic when coupled with salty.
While the piece disclosed little of the actual science, Ms. Maker beautifully encapsulated the effects of salt on the flavor profile as she clarified those interactions in the context of the Big Three – salt, fat and acid. As a result of her well written, uncomplicated piece, Ms. Maker has earned the honor of being selected as one of five finalists by wineblogawards.org in the category of “Best Blog Post of the Year”.
It was our pleasure to assist Ms. Maker and we look forward to the winner being announced some time after July 26, 2012. If you’d like to learn more about salt and wine pairings, you can read Ms. Maker’s post “You Just Opened a What? Cooking Tips to Make Food More Wine-Friendly”
If you aren’t already familiar with Palate Press or wineblogawards.org, you might check them out as well. If you are a regular wine drinker you’ll find lots of great recommendations that are sure to improve your cellar selection and your personal pairing list!