After an hour or so in the Grand Tasting tent on Saturday , it was time for the afternoon seminars. From 2:30-2:45 p.m. was Wine & Swine, a salumi course with Dan Phillips of Grateful Palate, and Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality group. The objective was to learn about our taste preferences by tasting wines and salumi together. The Dans swore that if we would simply make the notes "good," "ehh," or "yuck," in their grid (using their smiley-face system), at the end of the exercise we would have learned about our preferences regarding how basic flavors and salt, sweet, hot, spicy and fat play together. We were given six wines, six cured sausages, and a sheet of paper consisting of a grid with boxes for our reactions. In my grid (pictured below) + =good, l = ehh, and – = yuck.
'03 Theo Minges Gleisweiler Hölle Riesling Spatlese: minerals, lemon, pineapple candy
'06 Bon-Bon Shiraz Rose: white stones, aloe, cranberry
'02 Sinskey Pinot Noir Four Vineyards: port, black cherries, booze, wood
'03 Riecine Chianti Classico: flat cherry soda
'04 Alto Moncayo Garnacha: chocolate, tarragon
'04 Shrivington Shiraz : leather, blackberries, wood smoke, salami
My salumi notes were:
Salame Toscano: mineraly like cherry stone clams, salty
Salame Bielese: fleshy tear, rather plain otherwise
Saucisson Sec Basquese: too much spice, little more than hot
Wild Boar Cacciatorni: gamey with chocolate notes
Sopressata: mineral and salt notes combining to taste of clams again
Finocchino: all about the fennel seeds studding it
Here is my chart with contemplation-less reactions to the combinations:
I made no big breakthrough as to my preferences, other than to confirm that I am still obviously pretty alone in believing that as far as wine pairing goes (and only as far as wine pairing goes) pork is the other white meat and there are just too many variables in the flavors of cured meats to make a safe bet on the tannins in red wine. The places in the world that make the best sausages are far stronger in whites than reds – think Friulli, Alsace, the banks of the Mosel (Tuscany being an exception because traditional Chianti, prior to the super-Tuscan bulking trends of late, was really just a red white wine, and the same can be said of the Lambruscos of the Parma region) – and to use the food quote that has always made the most sense to me which I first heard attributed to Danny Meyer when I was a budding young food freak, "if it grows together it goes together."