The Liberation of Food & Wine
Luis Torres is the Co-founder and Director of Education for the Constellation Academy of Wine - Central East & East Coast. He visited Jamaica recently to host a number of wine and food seminars on behalf of Wine and Spirits importer Select Brands Ltd.
The State of Wine Education
Luis Torres is passionate about wine education and is hoping to improve the way the industry teaches about wine. "Stuck" is a word that Luis used to describe the industry today. Our discussions centred on the fact that audiences for wine consumption is widening, and some members of this new demographic are not concerned about "terroir", climate change, the fermentation process and the regions from where the wines originate. Most of these new wine drinkers simply want to try a wine and decide if they like it or not, then they tweet about it if they like it and find it "cool" and then they buy more. In this column we recently shared the results of a multimillion dollar study that the Constellation organisation conducted to find out exactly who is drinking wine these days.
Food and Wine
Torres' focus on this recent visit to Jamaica was to add a new dimension to how people think about wine and food. His seminar was partially based on the work of Evan Goldstein and Joyce Goldstein - Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier's Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food. Torres focused during hso seminar on providing a greater understanding of how to combine wines with food by understanding balance in food, acid/salt ratio with the umami/sweetness in wine. While these methods are not new, Luis does deliver the information in a very entertaining, jovial but effectively informative way. The very first time I did a similar experiment was at a Society of Wine Education Seminar in 2006 in a session conducted by Jerry Comfort who at the time was Senior Manager Wine Education for Foster's Wine Estates. It changed the way I looked at wine and food pairings forever.
The very basics
Goldstein's book reminds us that wine and food appreciation are personal and more importantly, that no two mouths react the same way to tastes. Taste and flavour are two different things. The core tastes are: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and the recently 'discovered' umami - a word borrowed from the Japanese that can be translated to mean "pleasant savoury taste". All these are present in food in varying degrees. Three of these basic tastes are also present in wine - sweet, sour and bitter. Goldstein explains that the combination of these tastes holds the keys to wine and food matching - if we understand the three keys for food and the six for wine, then wine and food matching will become a whole lot easier. The keys are:
Food - Ingredients; Cooking Methods; Sauces and Condiments
Wine - Acidity; Sweetness; Saltiness; Tannin; Oak; Alcohol
In Part 2 next week we explain how these keys work in order for you to create a more pleasurable wine and food experience.
Christopher Reckord - Businessman, Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on twitter: @DeVineWines @Reckord