Natalie MacLean gives a fresh perspective on breaking the rules when pairing wine and food.
You really can drink wine with just about anything, according to a new web site devoted to food and wine pairings. Zinfandel with your Tex-Mex? Not a problem. A little Chardonnay with your fried chicken take-out? Delicious. Pinot Noir and wild boar? Why not? says Natalie MacLean, who has included these in a free, interactive matching tool at www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher.
“The old rules about white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat just don’t give enough guidance anymore,” says MacLean, author of the bestseller Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass. “With modern fusion cuisine and wines from new regions around the world, the choices-and confusion-are great.”
Here are Natalie’s top 10 fun food and wine matches:
1. Popcorn with Chilean Chardonnay
2. Nachos with California Zinfandel
3. Potato chips with French Champagne
4. Pizza with Italian Chianti
5. Fish and chips with German Riesling
6. Hamburgers with Australian Shiraz
7. Smoked salmon with Canadian or Oregon Pinot Noir
8. Quiche with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
9. Canned brown beans with tawny Port
10. TV dinner steak with French or Washington Cabernet Sauvignon
MacLean’s matching tool pairs wines with any dish: meat, pasta, seafood, vegetarian fare, pizza, eggs, cheese and even dessert, including Jell-O and fudge (for those who like to layer their vices). You simply choose the food or wine from a drop-down menu to get the pairing suggestions.
There are also lots of recipes for those planning a meal. The matcher is updated regularly with new dishes and wines from the 90,000-plus readers who subscribe to Natalie’s free e-newsletter, which offers tips on how to buy, cellar and serve wine.
In Red, White and Drunk All Over, Natalie discusses how to match food and wine in greater depth, including wines for a multi-course dinner. There’s also a chapter with advice on pairing wine with five challenging foods: chocolate, cheese, spicy dishes, vegetables and fast food. Got a dish or a wine to stump Natalie? Just e-mail her via her web site and she’ll suggest a match for you.
Natalie MacLean has won four James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award. Rex Pickett, author of Sideways, says that Natalie “writes about wine with a sensuous obsession,” and is “laugh-out-loud funny.” Eric Asimov of the New York Times calls Natalie’s approach “a winning formula,” describing her as “the disarming Everywoman … she loves wine, loves drinking.” And the Financial Times of London observes: “Natalie MacLean is a new force in the wine writing world-a feisty North American answer to Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson.”
Find wines to match thousands of dishes at www.NatalieMacLean.com