WINE PAIRING 202
The standards of basic wine pairing 101 were white with fish red with meat. This convention like so many others overtime has changed. I was fortunate enough to speak with Fernando Gaxiola of Baja Wine + Food to ask what has changed in pairing wine with food. Fernando is someone who pairs wine and food as a passion. He was very open and sharing about his process.
Baja Wine + Food is involved in bringing the Valle de Guadalupe area of Baja to the rest of the world. This area south of the California border has been producing wine since 1922. I learned about Fernando while covering Sabor Latino a tasting event that took place as part of the San Diego Latino Film Festival.
When asked about the basics of pairing wine with food he stated “The right way to pair food and wine is to go deeper and understand the flavor profile of the dish and try to complement those flavors with attributes in the wine” it’s more complicated I realized when I mentioned my outdated understanding citing the notion of white wine with fish rule “a dark meat fish with a heavy sauce can go pretty well with a red wine or a red meat with a light sauce (or raw meat such as a tartar) can perfectly pair with a white wine with good body and acidity,” he replied. “There is a science behind it.”
When asked about how he approached pairing wine to the dishes provided by Harrah’s Resort in the V.I.P. area he told me, “I work with a concept called “Food and Wine Harmony,” which is based on the fact that the flavor profile of a dish can be matched with different types of wines with similar attributes (fruit, acidity, sweetness, tannins, alcohol, etc.)” he continued “I know this Chefs’ personal style, and after a brief conversation (with Harrah’s Chef Israel Ortiz) where he shared the components of the dish, dominant flavor, cooking method, style of cuisine and other additional flavors in it, I was able to select from my portfolio a wine that complements the flavor profile of the dish.” Fernando shared with me that most people already have a preference of the type of wines they like so he likes to highlight a white and rosé or red option if possible for any particular dish.
The pairing for Sabor Latino was as follows:
1. Exotic Fruit Tajin Bar Fernando offered a very crisp, clean, young, high acid Chardonnay by Paoloni Wines with no barrel aging or malolactic fermentation, fruit forward with a lot of freshness.
2. Spanish Cheeses and Meats a variety of whites, rosés and reds that pair well with cheese and charcuterie such as Torres Alegre Biko Tinto (Light Red Blend), Adobe Guadalupe Miguel (Tempranillo Blend), Torres Alegre La Llave Blanca (White blend with oak), Lomita Cursi Rosé (Grenache).
3. Mini Pork Jowl “ Carnitas” Tortas Adobe Guadalupe’s Gabriel 2011, which is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec, a little bolder with more bottle aging.
4. Baby Squid Tacos Lomita Discreto Encanto Blanco, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc for those who prefer white wine and Lomita Tinto de La Hacienda, a light, mellow and balanced red blend.
Other wines offered were Paoloni Sangiovese Grosso 2013, Valle de Guadalupe
Monte Xanic Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Valle de Guadalupe
Henri Lurton Shiraz 2015, Valle de Guadalupe
Torres Alegre Del Biko Blanco 2012, Valle de Guadalupe
Casa Magoni Cabernet Sangiovese 2014, Valle de Guadalupe
I may have bit off more than I can chew but I do understand better what needs to be considered when matching your wine with a meal plus I have a few wines to research a win win!
Story By: Mike Caro
Photography Courtesy Of Above