Summer Wine Pairing Series with Master Sommelier Craig Collins – Appetizers
Editor’s note: The fourth post in our Summer Wine Pairing Series, today Master Sommelier Craig Collins shares his tips when it comes to pairing wines with a variety of appetizers including our Omaha Steaks Coconut Shrimp.
I hope that you saved some of that Prosecco from last week because we are about to drink it while we discuss which wines to begin our meals. In pairing wine with appetizers, we will discuss structural components mentioned last week, like acid, and talk about a wine and food pairing rule that I call the ‘arc of a meal’.
Acid is one of the structural foundations of a wine that can be used to highlight key flavors and components of a dish. The acid in wine will activate the salivary glands and enlarge the taste buds, two things that we are looking for to begin our evening. So which wines to enjoy with your Coconut Shrimp appetizer? Look for a crisp wine with high acid such as a sparkling wine (did you drink all that Prosecco?) or Sauvignon Blanc. Often times we are not able to taste the wine before we buy it so how do we know if it has high acid? When in doubt, grab a wine that comes from an appellation farther north as the cooler climate will generally allow the grape to express higher acid.
The other rule to remember when pairing wine with appetizers is the arc of your meal. You would never begin your meal with a rib eye or a flourless chocolate torte, you slowly work up to these heavier flavors and weighty dishes with appetizers and salads. We allow our palates to experience lighter flavors first and we need to look at wine in the same way. Begin your meals with lighter body, more delicate wines such as a crisp Chardonnay from Chablis or a maybe an Italian white wine.
The wine that we select to enjoy with appetizers and begin our meal is just as important as what we drink with the main course. Chosen properly, it can provide the spark that you need to ignite a memorable evening so pop some bubbles and enjoy!
Craig Collins, Master Sommelier