Wine Time – Degustation

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What does that word mean, exactly? It brings images to my mind of blatant overeating, preceded by the need to fast, to ensure the tummy has the capacity to house all the degustation will deliver to it. So, the word degustation is derived from the Latin word meaning to “taste” or “savour”.  This evening we are going to embark upon a seven course degustation, but I’m not sure my “fasting” will be adequate.  Surprisingly, the restaurant is a BYO!

This is kind of a relief, because you know you are saving approx $50 on the bottle of wine. But then again, the true foodie/chef surely wants to ensure the degustation experience is maximised by pairing the appropriate wine with each course. Wine recommendations from wait staff are always considereed, sometimes taking their advice, but if something on the list calls to me, I go with my gut feel and the knowledge I’ve developed from 32 or more years of wine drinking. So this BYO option for the degustation requires a decision to be made; which wine to bring?

A degustation typically involves a variety of dishes, and for us tonight it will be seven dishes. I need some help to make an informed decision as to which wine will best complement the evening’s deliciousness. The sample online menu makes the mouth water, promising delights including light Japanese morsels, seafood mouthfuls, other proteins and veggies presented in ways I would never contemplate.

Immediately I think a white wine will be the go – a good Chardy, or maybe a Pinot Gris or Grigio. A wine that will be subtle yet complimentary across a wide range of flavour combinations.

My dinner companion suggests we take two bottles – indulgent, but a good call – don’t have to drink them both, but gives us options when the menu is fully revealed …

The seven course degustation was magnificent, and we did not feel we had overeaten yet were very much satisified; each dish was interesting and packed with flavour.  So which wine did we go with, and did it work for every dish?

Surprisingly, we had decided on a rose, believing a red would be too heavy for many of the courses and a white … well, we weren’t in the mood for a white.   The rose was a winner!  It truly complemented each of the seven courses. The accompaniments are as significant as the primary ingredient of each of the dishes, with creativity and flavour packed into every morsel on the plate, and I think that’s where the rose really works. It is these ancillary ingredients that the lightness of the rose does not overpower, but becomes part of each dish in a subtle way.

Rose is often overlooked for food pairing, with many opinions being that it is insipid and sweet – but this is not the case. The flavour is subtle, and if you select your rose carefully, there will be delicate complexity that truly complements a range of delicious food.

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