Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Made a mistake with the wine tonight!

For a long time now, I have been craving blackened swordfish and black bean soup.  It is difficult to find black beans in Australia and nobody serves Cajun style fish in restaurants here.  Therefore, I went to the Internet and got some recipes for both and for once, I did the cooking tonight instead of my famous (to me anyway!) chef partner, DAZ from Daz in the Kitchen fame!

Surprisingly, the meal turned out really well.  All day, I was pretty certain I would be serving up a Hunter Valley Semillon to go with it, and had decided on the 2005 Tyrrell's Vat 1 as a slightly better match than the truly outstanding 1999 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillon.  The 2005 Vat 1 would have been a little crisper and set off the Cajun spices better than the smoother Museum release 1999 Meerea Park.

However, for some reason just before starting to cook, I asked my lovely bride if she would prefer a Riesling instead of a Semillon.  I had been staring at a bottle of the 2008 Grosset Polish Hill and decided to raise the question.  Well, she ALWAYS prefers a Riesling so said she would prefer that.  I was going to have a glass while blogging before I started cooking and as soon as I took my first sip, I realized we had made a mistake.

The 2008 Grosset Polish Hill is a beautiful wine and many reviewers rated the 2008 vintage as 99/100.  This is a spectacular wine!  But it was too metallic to match up well and blend with the Cajun spices on the fish.  I could have opened the 2005 Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon in addition, but then I would have two open bottles of white and I knew I was going to be opening a great bottle of red (1992 Lindemans Pyrus) tomorrow, and that is too much wine for the two of us over two days.  Therefore, we 'suffered' through drinking a great wine and eating great food, but not having the combination work as well as it should have.

There are just certain times when the right grape with the food makes the wine a much better wine regardless of rating and what you think of the other wine.  I try not to get carried away with wine and food matching, but some foods just demand one grape over the another.  And tonight was one of those meals where that was true.  Even a mediocre Semillon would have worked far better than the best Riesling.

I had a similar experience a few weeks ago when eating at a Lebanese restaurant and trying out both an average Semillon and an excellent Riesling.  The average Semillon won the battle that night also.  No matter how good the wine, if the grape does not match up well with the food, you will not have a great drinking or eating experience.

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