INDIA ABROAD April 14, 2017 36 WINE
called the ancestral method, or
méthode ancestrale. These wines
are bottled before their first fermentation is complete, and as
the fermentation finishes in the
sealed container, the sparkle is
added. The carbonation is generally tamer, and sometimes the
wines are a little sweet. The
ancestral method has received
new attention with the rising
popularity of pétillants naturels,
which are made this way.
Beyond Champagne, sparkling
wine categories that you may
encounter include cava, sekt,
crémant, pétillant and spumante.
Fortified wines are made by
adding neutral spirits
to the still wine to
strengthen the alcohol
level. This is done for
several reasons: First,
fortification helps to
protect a wine from
most microbes that
could affect a still
wine cannot survive in
a more alcoholic envi-
ronment. Second, for-
tification was a
method of protecting fragile still
wines from the rigors of long
voyages. Finally, if a wine is for-
tified before fermentation is
complete, the yeast will die, leav-
ing behind a residual amount of
sugar. This is how port and
sweeter Madeiras are made. Dry
sherries are fortified after the fer-
mentation is complete.
Aside from the familiar terms
port, sherry and Madeira, other
fortified wines you may find
include marsala, vermouth and
vin doux naturels.
Pairing With Food
Wine’s best moments come
with food. Yet the process of
choosing a wine to go with a
meal can be fraught with anxiety.
Have no fear.
Start With Conventional
What is the worst that can
happen? You have a wine and a
meal that maybe don’t go together precisely. So what? You still
have food and wine. And now
you have experience. You will
choose a different bottle next
This is not a mistake. This is
learning. The only time to be
cautious is when you have singular wines — perhaps old and fragile, or fine and expensive. In
those cases you want to be extra
careful to choose food that will
permit the wines to be at their
Conventional wisdom has
much to say about wine with
food, and much ink has been
devoted to its debunking. But if
you are not experienced with
pairing wine and food, the conventional wisdom is a good place
You do not have to slavishly
follow these guidelines. Personal
preference trumps rules. Feel
free to experiment as you like.
Guidelines for Beginners
• Dry white wines go beauti-
fully with fish and shellfish. This
is good but skeletal advice.
Within this framework, match
the richness and body of the food
with the weight of the wine.
That is, the crisp, straightforward white that would be great
with shrimp, sardines or flounder
will not be as satisfying with lobster or scallops as the richer
chardonnay, and vice versa. And
once you become familiar with
these pairings, you’ll see that certain reds go with fish too, like
pinot noir and salmon.
• Reds are great with red meat.
Steaks and other rich, fatty meats
can take bigger, more tannic
reds, while burgers might be better with juicier reds. But it’s hard
to go wrong, unless the wine is
simply not very good. Would a
white go with a red meat?
Believe it or not, a big, dry riesling, or sometimes even a sweet
auslese, can be just the thing. But
I would try this only if you are
feeling comfortably experimental.
• Poultry and pork can go
either way, depending on the
preparation and your mood.
• Pizzas and pastas with tomato sauces need a good, acidic red,
which is why traditional Italian
reds are a natural choice. But
things can easily get complicated.
With fresh tomato sauces,
crisp whites might work better.
And Champagne is great with
pizza – where’s that in the rule
• Sweet wines are great with
cheese. Not always great with
• When in doubt, think regionally. That is, choose wines from
the same region as the recipe.
— The New York Tmes
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