? Wine with grilled cheese: Food & Wine's Ray Isle, who knows his way around cheap wine, has some intriguing wine pairings for grilled cheese. And not just the classic white bread and American cheese version, but several more esoteric sandwiches, including one with Italian robiola cheese and mortadella sausage. Oddly, enough, the Wine Curmudgeon made croque monsieur, the French version, and tomato soup a couple of weeks ago, pairing them with the Chateau Bonnet red. Who knew I was on the cutting edge?
? Chefs love regional wine: Local wine, for the second year in a year, is one of the top 10 restaurant trends, says the National Restaurant Associaton. It's right up there with healthful meals for kids and ahead of culinary cocktails — pretty impressive, given how much ink the latter gets. I was skeptical when local wine made the list last year, but I'm beginning to see a trend, especially as we travel the country for DrinkLocalWine and see how enthusiastic so many chefs are. (Shameless plug for DLW 2012: Denver on April 28 — tickets on sale soon through the website.)
The Wine Curmudgeon has been pondering this for a good while, trying to figure out a way to write about pairings that wouldn’t drive new wine drinkers crazy (as part of my resolution to make the blog more accessible to people who are new to wine).
Which led to the thought: Are we putting the cart before the horse? We’re telling people to pair certain wines with food under the assumption that the food will taste better. Is there any evidence to support this?
In other words, when I’m drinking an unoaked chardonnay with roast chicken, does the chicken taste better than if I had been pairing it with sweet tea or a soft drink (something I see very often in Dallas, where restaurant diners seem to drink more of the last two than the first). The answer: No one knows for sure. More, after the jump:
? Premium wine sales increasing? That's the forecast from the Silicon Valley Bank, which lends money to the wine business. It says sales of wine costing more than $20 a bottle could increase as much as 12 percent in 2011 over 2010 and that consumers seem to be ready to stop trading down. It also notes, as so many others don't, that the increase is just the first step in regaining ground lost during the recession. Expect continued discounting through the third quarter this year, and wines that cost $50 or more won't do as well.
? Bring on the lawsuits: Just when you thought that a bruised and battered wine business couldn't afford any more silly lawsuits — or could come up with any silly lawsuits — we have dueling legal challenges between MommyJuice, a Clos La Chance label introduced last fall, and Mommy ?s Time Out, an Italian brand. Wines & Vines notes that the two sides are accusing each other of various trademark improprieties, and there is even a bit of a discussion about the controversy surrounding mommy wines.
? Pairing wine and doughnuts: Or, as the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports, "Poetic Cellars, a winery tucked in the hills of Soquel, was the site Saturday for the filming of a proposed reality television pilot that matches wines of different varieties with doughnuts chock-full of sugars and jellies." What's next? Scores for doughnuts? Please save us from that: "88, with hints of caramelized sugar, day-old frying grease, and toasting cream filling."