Food and Wine Pairing Tips with a Sparkle of Disney Magic

I’m freshly back from a business and pleasure trip to Florida. Today I’m sharing wine and food pairing tips that The Zin Diva and guests discussed at a private wine and cheese tasting party held in Florida last week. Also, check out the best wine deal in Disney World in the photo, below! This delicious sparkling wine from Iron Horse Vineyards is the ONLY beverage I found at the Disney World Resorts that sells for retail price ($35). On to the wine and food pairing tips…

Tip 1. Choose a wine that is sweeter than your food. Sweet food can make a dry wine seem flat and acidic. Ideas: Chocolate and port wine; sauteed pork chops, pears, & onions and an off-dry Vouvray; sushi rolls with a sweet sauce drizzled over the top with an off-dry German Riesling.

Tip 2. Spicy foods go better with sweeter wines. Let’s take that sushi roll and have a sweet & spicy drizzled sauces on top; it could still pair with the off-dry German Riesling!

Brut Sparkling Wine: Low Sugar, Higher Acid, No Tannin

The Iron Horse Vineyards FairyTale Celebration Cuvee 2008 is made specifically for the Disney World and Disneyland resorts. This brut sparkling wine is from the relatively cool Green Valley in Russian River Valley in CA. I tasted green apple, lemon zest, yellow cherry, brioche, and cream.
This wine is relatively high in acid and low in sugar with no tannin or oak aging. Since it’s a higher acid wine, it should pair well with many different foods. Because it has no oak, it can pair with fish and seafood. It’s relatively low in sugar, so we should avoid sweeter foods like chocolate or French toast and spicy foods like a spicy tuna roll.

Tip 3. If you are having fish or seafood, choose a wine with low tannin levels that is unoaked. Tannins + Fish/Seafood = Metallic taste. For example, unoaked Chardonnay may taste fabulous with your crab while oaked Chardonnay leaves a bitter metallic taste in your mouth.

Tip 4. Higher acid wines (think zippy, tangy, racy) pair well with foods esp. seafood, like the effect of squeezing a lemon over your food. Higher acid wines tend to be from cooler climates like Germany, Austria, France, Northern Italy, Northern Spain, and New Zealand.

Tip 5. If your wine has higher tannin levels (makes your tongue dry), pair it with a protein like steak or cheese. The protein will bind with the tannin and make the wine smoother.

Dry vs. Off-Dry: For still wines, a “dry” wine means little to no residual sugar, i.e., no perception of sweetness on the palate. An “off-dry” wine means a bit more residual sugar, so a little sweet to the palate and often sweet enough for those moderately spicy foods or dishes with a sweet ingredient like apples.

Brut vs. Extra-Dry vs. Dry: For sparkling wines, a “brut” bubbly means relatively little residual sugar, i.e., no (or very little) perception of sweetness. An “extra-dry” bubbly means a bit more residual sugar, so it’s a little sweet to the palate. A “dry” bubbly is sweeter yet.

Have a fabulous weekend, and enjoy your wine and food pairing adventures!

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Creating fun, passion-filled wine events that bring people together

Musings on Company Philosophy… and Putting the “Fun” First in The Zin Diva!

I’ve been working this week to develop my company philosophy and integrate it throughout my website. While developing a core purpose and core values sounded rather abstract to me, I’ve actually really enjoyed seeing how my website and “elevator speech” are evolving based on selling my core purpose of “fun” instead of my Sommelier and wine education services.

So, here’s The Zin Diva’s core purpose: To create fun, passion-filled wine events that bring people together. While this has long been my objective, my website and 30-second elevator speech didn’t reflect that. In fact, peoples’ eyes glaze over when I say I provide “Sommelier and Wine Education Services for your Parties and Events.” Yawn… And then they ask what Sommelier means, and I say a fancy French word for wine steward. But we never really got down to the core of my business model of creating fun, passion-filled wine events that bring people together. Instead of burying the fun deep into conversation, I am now seeking to promote the “fun” up-front.

So here is my new approach and elevator speech: The Zin Diva creates fun, passion-filled wine events that bring people together. We strive to make wine fun and approachable while providing the amount of wine education that you and your guests desire.

I’ve also established the core values for The Zin Diva, so that they can guide us as we plan events, serve guests, hire help, and market ourselves. As we grow, the core values should remain constant.

So, here are The Zin Diva’s Core Values:

  • Passion
  • Warmth
  • Authenticity
  • Diversity
  • Rewarding Relationships

And in summary, here’s a look at how I’m promoting The Zin Diva now:

We plan and host fun, passion-filled wine events for Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the Washington, DC Metro area including locations up to 1.5 hours away from Alexandria, Virginia. Ask us about planning a fun wine event for your group by contacting The Zin Diva at beth.taylor@zindiva.com or 703-249-WINE.

Cheers to having fun!