You already have enough pressure in your life. Why add to the pressure by fretting over when is the right time to open the wine, what wine to have and do you chill the wine or serve it at "room" temperature?

Sometimes people who are knowledgeable about wine prefer to deal in obfuscation rather than illumination – such people are to be shunned and avoided. They may even be subject to a bit of electric shock; nothing too strong, just a short jolt. I don't think we should hurt them, only remind them of their mortality.

Anyway, here is your rule: if you like the food and you like a wine, dive in. There may be a better possible pairing but for you, what works, works. The problem-opportunity has been resolved.

That being said, there may be a bit of guidance we can suggest. However, this advice, like many of the traffic laws and signage in New Orleans, is merely suggestion, not dogma.

As noted earlier, your palate is the final authority about what sings and what sucks.

But here are a few pretty solid thoughts:

* Champagne goes with practically everything. This notion holds true for even hard to match veggies like broccoli, asparagus and carrots.

* Give full credit to the sauce. Yes, the core product deserves real attention, but whatever you ladle over it should also play a serious role in wine selection. Texture, spice, construction ingredients, even the amount used changes the dynamics.

* Often, matching colors can be a guide. Poached salmon matched with a garnet-hued pinot noir is a real love connection.

* If you are a chocoholic, don't assume it all works with heavy wines. Actually, milk chocolate is a pairing challenge. Dairy and wine are not the best of friends. But very dark chocolate with a little sea salt in the ingredient listing can add a bit more dimension to a delightful Port.

* Then again, unlikely pairings can often surprise. Dry Riesling holds its own, and then some, with spicy Asian cuisine. Riesling could even be a fine match with our boiled crayfish – or have you reserved that place for beer?

* Rather than being truly stumped, look to the Old World. Our ancestors knew that marinara was delightful with Sangiovese, the classic matches of Tuscan, and that bouillabase, the fish stew/soup of Province, gave life to grenache and syrah roses. Ask yourself, where did the food creation start being "a thing?"  Or you can approach from the opposite side: what are the vineyard workers for this wine having for lunch?

* You already know, and likely embrace, the undisputed truth that Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with red meat. Okay, but have you tried a change of pace with that hunk of cow? What about a Merlot from St. Emilion in Bordeaux? How about Argentina's adopted grape, malbec, or a bold syrah from California or Australia? Again, don't be a slave to convention. Let that inner rebel run wild.

Here again, even with these ideas, please take it easy. Don't make this pairing and wine selection issue drive you nuts. Which reminds me, have you tried cashews with prosecco? Me neither but it sounds yummy.

 

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