Thursday, July 2, 2015

Perfect pairings: How well do you know your wine?

I have a confession to make. I love to drink wine, with my dinner, with cheese and crackers...OK, sometimes it is just me, the wine bottle, and a good book. But I am ashamed to admit that what I truly know about wine could fit into a hollowed-out wine cork: not much, right? Shopping for wine is always intimidating, so I only stick to brands and types of wine that I have tasted before. Are you a wine enthusiast, but not a wine expert, just like me? Lucky for us there are some great wine-pairing events coming up that will help give us a more discerning palate and the right vocabulary to truly enjoy wine.

Perfect pairings: How well do you know your wine?

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Impress your friends with your new wine expertise. (iStock)
Impress your friends with your new wine expertise. (iStock)

I have a confession to make. I love to drink wine, with my dinner, with cheese and crackers at a party…OK, sometimes it is just me, a glass of wine, and a good book. But I am ashamed to admit that what I truly know about wine could fit into a hollowed-out wine cork: not much, right? Shopping for wine is always intimidating, so I only stick to brands and types of wine that I have tasted before. Are you a wine enthusiast, but not a wine expert, just like me? Lucky for us there are some great wine-pairing events coming up that will help give us a more discerning palate and the right vocabulary to truly enjoy wine.

A great place to start is the Pairings on the Parkway at Sister Cities Park in Center City, held every Thursday in August. At this low-key event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., you are asked to bring your own bottle of wine, and then you will be able to shop for a variety of cheeses and other food items that might pair well with your wine. Experiment a little with your choices and then sit down to enjoy your bounty while listening to some live entertainment.

On Saturday, Aug. 9 in Vineland, N.J., at their inaugural Food & Wine Festival, you can sample offerings from Balic Winery and Southwind Vineyard while enjoying a diverse array of foods from local restaurants. Then show off what you have learned so far at the amateur wine competition. The festival will run from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will also include live music and children’s activities, like face painting and a sidewalk chalk art contest.

At Pinot Boutique in Center City, the wine experts are offering a class that combines Philly culture as well as wine education. During Philly Food & Wine Pairings, you will learn the history of classic foods like the Philly cheesesteak, soft pretzel and Tastykakes and what local wines go well with them. Yes, I did just say a soft pretzel with wine. This class is offered on both Sunday, Aug. 10 and Sunday, Aug. 24 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Classes will continue into the fall.

Also on Sunday, Aug. 10 in Newtown, sweet offerings are being made at Crossings Vineyards and Winery where during their How Sweet It Is: Pairing Wine with Chocolate at 2 p.m. you will be given tips on what wines go best with chocolate. The afternoon will include instruction, wine tasting, a tour, and your own personal assortment of Pierre’s Chocolates. On Sunday, Aug. 24 at 2 p.m., move past the cheddar cheese and explore other types of wine-and-cheese pairings. In September, the winery will also be offering another session on wine with cheese as well as one on cupcakes. The ladies are also invited to a special spirited night out that will include tarot card readings on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.

You can also continue your education at Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Rio Grande, N.J. and take their tour, offered daily from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. where they show you the transformative process from grape to bottle of wine and allow you to taste their wine as well as gourmet cheese. Practice makes perfect, right? 

Sports Medicine Editor, Philly.com
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Tracey Romero Sports Medicine Editor, Philly.com
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