Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Local Food, Imported Wines
Eric Azimov has an interesting article in today's NY Times about locavore restaurants in California which also serve European wines. It would seem to be hypocritical, but in many ways I can understand why they do this. Truth be told, most, not all, CA wines don't go with food. But before you get your panties in a bunch, please reread what I just wrote: I didn't say ALL CA wines don't go with food, I just said most.
In general, and again, this is a GENERALITY, many CA wines are not food-friendly, especially if the food is more on the delicate side (obviously, a hunk of BBQ'd beef is another matter). Ripe, sweet fruit, low acid, high alcohol do not translate to things one wants to drink with a meal. They tend to overpower most dishes. And don't get me started on the liberal use, or rather abuse, of oak.
Most (again, not all) European wines are not as big and brutish and their acidity lends itself to food much more easily than CA wines. So I can understand why many CA restaurant lists have these wines. It would be nice if more CA wineries tried to make more food-friendly wines, but these don't get the points and attention that big, oaky, sweet fruity alcohol bombs do. And don't get me started on points...
Luckily, here on the East Coast, we have a plethora of choices, both from the Old World and from the New World. We are truly blessed for living between the two and having access to them. Of course, this negates any attempts whatsoever at being a locavore unless you try to get Long Island wines (which are more European in style than their CA counterparts).
Frankly, I am not saying CA wines are bad, just that they don't match with food as readily as European wines do. Someone once told me, CA wines are for cocktails, European wines for dinner. And I can understand why he said that.