Editor's note: The wines of the Old World have those perfect marriages that we loved extolling in the historic menus and world renowned chefs. To find out what we individually like, we suggest you try a good Cabernet Sauvignon with your favourite lamb recipe in the New World rules. Wine is about what we, as an individual, like, not what some connoisseur likes. So if you tried the food wine marriage, and liked it, then you know what the marriage of food and wine is all about.
The perfect marriage
By Don Merlot
My first mentor in my career gave me some very important clues to follow about life, eating, drinking, working, living and career expectations.
1. Rule No. 1: In discussing about wines he said, wines are like horse races. If everybody bet on the same horse there would not be horse races.
2. Rule No. 2: Always look for the differences, and ignore the similarities -– if you stop at the point where all California white wines taste the same, or all German wines are sweet, you will not have a great wine experience. Keep notes of what you like and do like about a wine.
3. Rule No. 3: Aesop's fable lesson: During times of crisis please give assistance and not advise. Learn what you like and dislike, and do not be talked into a wine because somebody else likes it.
So that being my mission here, let's find out what a favorite wine is and what is not. So what happens if you do not like Cabernet Sauvignon?
Bordeaux is strong on Cabernet Sauvignon on the Médoc region -– the left bank, but on the right bank Pomerol has as its king, the Merlot grape.
Think of the wine as a condiment with the food. If you are a red wine drinker and still not convinced by the old world or new world cabernet sauvignon and merlots, then maybe you DNA is very nationalistic.
If you are Italian and have a pasta sauce, you may like more basil, or granna. Italians for sure as everybody else are not homogenous. (Rule No. 2).
In Spain lamb is cordero and enjoys wonderful wines as well.
Many wineries have to thank the New World California and Australian templates that have made great strides in making first class wines.
So in the Old World and New World environment and ambience of red wines, there is a wine for each and every one of us to enjoy with lamb.
White wine and food marriage
Just to round out our thoughts, White wines have an Ideal marriage in the old world as well. You may have heard about the French Coquillage and Muscadet of the Loire valley. But when it comes to sole, there is a wine for the perfect marriage: White Burgundy. This is not a struggle most will be faced with, unless you are an up and coming executive having to arrange a meal for your best European customer.
White Chardonnay is the most popular white wine planted in wine areas. So be patient if you are looking for you favourite match.
Summer with warm weather is time to have chilled wines. White, rosé and light reds can be chilled and serve. Tradition begs for white meat and white wine, and red meat with red wine. The New World 21st century says anything goes. It is your tongue that savours the taste. All of us have a different threshold. So if you cannot discern what other people taste, keep in mind that it is not your threshold. And you are not crazy if you cannot identify what others taste.
Whether you are having wine at home – -your house wine –- or celebrating, you should drink what you like and what you can afford and enjoy.
(Depuis 1968 with an international career, the author has followed the Marco Polo trail in and out of the Old and New World. Ron Alonzo –- AKA Don Merlot -– is Chevalier-Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and Chaine des Rotisseurs. Rafael Jose Carreño del la Mesa Ponce de Leon was his mentor when he started his career).