One of the most common questions involving wine usually has something to do with the pairing and matching of specific wines with certain dishes. Yes, it's true that certain wines complement certain dishes and flavors. Yes, it's also true that most people would probably prefer a full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with their steak over a glass Sauvignon Blanc. But, at the end of the day your personal taste is the one that counts.
Whenever I host a dinner party, I usually try to serve several types of wine, pairing a different wine with every course. The wine doesn’t have to be expensive or sophisticated, but often the right dish and the right wine just click, accentuating the flavors. And as long as we don’t spend too much time discussing the wine, it seems that most guests enjoy the experience.
Try starting the evening off with a chilled bubbly. I'm not saying that you have to pop open your best bottle of champagne, but a decent cava or any domestic sparkling wine will help put your guests in a festive mood. Feeling a bit patriotic during my last dinner party, I decided to serve a couple of Israeli wines; unfortunately I wasn’t able to find my preferred Yarden, Blanc de Blanc, 2001, and had to settle for the brut. We also served Carmel’s bubbly brut, produced as part their Private Collection series, sold at NIS 55-59. I can’t say that it's an exciting wine, but for those who are looking for a kosher alternative to the everyday cavas, this would be a pretty good choice. As for the hors d'oeuvres to match your bubbly, if you have the time, try rolling your own sushi, other options include hearts of palm wrapped in smoked salmon, fruit and light cheese platters, lightly battered vegetables, mini sandwiches or anything else that comes to your mind.
Time for the starter. Depending on the dish I usually prefer to move on to a refreshing white or a light red. Since, I was serving seviche (and had to take my budget into consideration) I was looking for a domestic Sauvignon Blanc, try the ones offered by Yarden or Dalton, both are sold under the NIS50 mark and provide a pretty good value for money. Heavier fish dishes will go well with a glass of Chardonnay or rose style wine.
If you feel like spending a few extra shekels, pick up a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, by Pelter, Ella Valley Vineyards or Galil Montain’s Avivim, I know that they're a bit more expensive than most domestic whites, but as the old saying goes: you get what you pay for!
Thus far, the dinner party was a smash. Stay tuned in 2 weeks time for the wine and food pairings for the main course and desert.