Chef Adrianne Calvo and Mixologist Oscar Castaneda Dish On Wine Tasting

On this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen and Bar, our master mixologist, Oscar Castaneda, discusses with his co-host, Adrianne CalvoAuthor, Celebrity Chef, and Chef/Owner of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar in Miami, FL—how to build and pair your wine selection with a food menu. The featured wines, Super Tuscan and Cabernet Sauvignon, are from Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant.

When building a wine selection based on your food menu, it’s important to match a flavor profile with a dish that will complement each other. You never want to offer a glass of wine that could be overbearing with its flavor.

“In conversations with my beverage director, I would say, ‘I have a 24-hr braised short rib that has a lot of fat and robust flavors, and I want a glass of wine that is strong enough to hold a candle to the short-rib but is not overwhelming,’” says Chef Adrianne.

As she breaks down the flavor highlights of her samplers (which Oscar tastes eagerly), we learn what reaction it has to the wine. Chef Adrianne guides Oscar’s pairing experience with a slow exercise where he takes a bite, inhales, waits 3 seconds and then takes a sip of wine. Oscar and the consumer can heighten the flavor of any dish by breathing in before tasting.

One of Chef Adrianne’s examples is a jalapeño popper paired with the Super Tuscan. The spice of the jalapeño is toned down with cream cheese, and the flavor of the wine cuts through the fat of the bacon. Similarly, Oscar tries out a couple of corn chips with the Cabernet which may seem odd but pairs fantastically.

“Some places start with tortillas or other flour-based appetizers. This is a great way to show someone that they can start with a glass of wine and pair it with this type of appetizer,” says Oscar.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Paired with:

  • Fritos Corn Chips

  • Lay's® Kettle Cooked Salt & Pepper Flavored Potato Chips

Super Tuscan

Paired with:

  • Braised short-rib

  • Jalapeño Popper

  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Bar

  • Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt

  • Aged Gouda Cheese

  • Parmesan

From Clubs to Inexpensive Private Labels— How to Get in on the #WineTrend

Whether people are drinking more wine to get through the week #WineWednesday or to simply save the wine bottle corks for their next Pinterest project, wine culture has become increasingly popular in the U.S. showing a steady upwards growth in consumption year over year.

Wine Pouring

After all, the U.S. has about 9,091 wineries, with California vineyards accounting for about 87 percent of the total U.S. wine production, giving Americans plenty of options to choose from when it comes to New World wines alone.

The bottom line is wine is trending and big corporations, as well as consumers, are taking notice and doing something about it— from creating house wine to forming wine clubs.

While California, the fourth largest producer of wine in the world, celebrates their annual harvest in September, Target Corp., the discount store retailer, debuted its own private label of $5 wine called California Roots earlier that month.

California Roots

Although details about the production of this bull’s-eye brand have not yet been disclosed, five different varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Moscato, Pinot Grigio and a Red Blend) of the economic wine can be found in 1,100 Target stores.

Other discount store retailers, like Trader Joe’s, have been producing their own wine lines for some time now, but even though Target is just now launching this new bargain wine brand to compete with the likes of Charles Shaw or ‘Two Buck Chuck’ (now $2.99/bottle), the corporation does have previous experience selling the popular alcoholic grape beverage. Target’s Wine Cube line sourced through Trinchero Family Estates, has been sold in specific markets for years now proving to be a contender amongst other boxed wine brands.

Many different factors account into the price point a wine is sold. Some include whether the wine was mass produced or it was made in small-batches; if barrels were used or not during wine production; the weight and type of material used to contain the wine; what type of cork is used for bottled wine; the amount of wine that can be shipped at once; not to mention the quality of the soil where the grapes grow and how they interact with the climate in that specific location along with the appropriate care that is necessary to harvest the best grapes.

Earlier this year, Business Insider reported on how Charles Shaw wines continue to maintain such competitive prices. Foodable has reached out to Target Corporation to learn more about the production details of California Root wines and how the company can keep a low price tag. Target has not yet responded.

While Target and Trader Joe’s begin to go head to head with their inexpensive wine lines, the CEO of Vayner Media, Gary Vaynerchuk, is weighing interest on Twitter after he posted an idea for a fun new wine club to get in on the trend.

He posted two screenshots of an iMessage conversation to his friends, labeled ‘Wine Trash Talk,’ declaring “I want people to literally make fun of their friends for buying wine elsewhere lol.”

The idea is for club members to pay $50 a month in order to get four wine bottles ranging from different varieties (Red, White, Rosé, and Sparkling) delivered to their homes for no shipping fee. His promise? “...It’s either a sick, sick deal, or a stunning new find, or something really hot and hard to get…,” claims Vaynerchuck promising to surprise people with great value wines.

The vlogger and podcaster is asking people who are interested to specify in a google form whether they would like to join the four, six or 12-month-long club.

Understanding the Basics While Exploring New Approaches to Wine and Cheese Pairing

Understanding the Basics While Exploring New Approaches to Wine and Cheese Pairing

Earlier this month, at an exclusive event in a Philadelphia restaurant, Bistro Romano, two very different producers met for a night of palette symphony.  While one producer focused on the aging and fermentation of grapes, the other producer focused on the aging and fermentation of milk. The harmony was undeniable to the small crowd of people who came for a lesson in building wine and cheese pairings.  While the classic pairings have been around for centuries (Chianti Classico and Parmigiano Reggiano, or Chardonnay and Camembert, for example), the modernists of Generation X and Y have disrupted the old world norms and are more open to exploring contrasts instead of compliments.  

Although the group was certainly ready to throw out the old guard rules to pairing, they did actually want to understand the fundamentals.  As with any meal, the consumer should begin with more subtle flavors to wake the tongue and then work their way to heavier and more complex tastes and textures.  This could not be more true for wine and cheese.  Which brought us to our first basic rule— cleanse the palette!  Throughout the day, taste buds take a beating.  Coffee in the morning, quick lunch in the early afternoon, gum, snacking, talking; all of these contribute to the taste buds being overworked and therefore not able to pick up on subtle nuances.  How to cleanse, you ask?  BUBBLES! Champagne, Prosecco, or Sparkling Rose are a great way to get the taste buds to stand at attention.

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