GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 6, 2012

Matching anise flavors in food with wine

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

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Molecular gastronomy is a relatively new field in the culinary world that explores the different ways to prepare and combine foods and flavors.

Kathleen Erickson, “The Wine PhD,” discusses flavor profiles and molecular gastronomy with such passion and knowledge, it’s hard not to become enthralled with the science behind wine tasting. For example, take the following dishes: Tarragon Chicken, asparagus and goat cheese, and herbs, vegetables and fruits. At a quick glance, these three dishes may seem like they have nothing in common. With the help of molecular gastronomy, and a close inspection of these three dishes’ molecular compounds, we are able to identify their common bond: anise.

With the sweet and highly aromatic flavor of anise, Erickson can then begin to build a bridge between each dish using different wines. Although partial to Gruner Veltliner because of it’s versatility, Erickson also suggests a Sauvignon Blanc, a Vernaccia and Riesling for their distinct anise-like flavor profiles. “What we are looking for is something that sings,” says Erickson.

Molecular gastronomy is not just for science labs anymore. Now it can even be found on your kitchen table. “These are very simple foods, that are so easy to prepare,” she says. “Make your meal become a wonderful, memorable wine experience.”

Taste to pair

In order to pair wine with food you have to learn how to properly taste it. Compiled below is a loose list of techniques you can use to taste your wine before you pair it.

1. Look at the wine’s color and shape in the glass. Examine its translucency and hues.

2. Swirl the wine in the glass and pay attention to the body of it and how it moves. This also opens up some of its aromas.

3. Place your nose in the glass and sniff the wine. A lot of how we taste comes from what we smell, so this is an important step.

4. Take a sip of the wine and hold it in your mouth, allowing it to touch all of your taste buds. Pay attention to how the wine’s taste and texture may change.

5. After you swallow the wine, notice any after-taste that may be left behind.

Once you understand the taste and flavor of your wine, then you will be able to pair it with your meal. In order to understand which flavor profiles your food and drink have, do some further research, and remember: it never hurts to experiment.

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Courtesy of Kathleen “The Wine PhD” Erickson, 2012.