Unexpected Pairings

Alexander LaPratt, Lead Sommelier of the Ribera del Duero and Rueda wine regions picks his favorite unique flavor pairings
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Alexander LaPratt likes to pair wines with fun foods.

As a master sommelier and restaurant owner, I often hear the question, “What should I pair with this?” It’s a topic that can be quite intimidating and overly scientific for the uninitiated, but it can also be a game-changer when a wine and food in combination become more than the sums of their individual flavors. You can create something almost magical.  I’m not just talking pairings for fancy restaurants and tasting menus, but for fun foods, too!

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I like to start with the weight and texture of what I’m eating and match the wine to that. You don’t want a wine that is too thin or too full for the dish — think twice before serving a crisp sauvignon blanc with a meaty steak, for example.Once I’m sure that the body of the wine is a good match for the dish, I look at the meal’s major flavor component. Many times this isn’t the protein — which is what one would normally think — but the sauce or herbs that flavor the dish. Then, I try to find a wine with similar flavors that will complement the entrée.  As the weather warms up, I always get excited for spring, and I have a few favorite fun food and wine pairings:

Champagne with Lays potato chips and sour cream and onion dip

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Rueda Verdejo with a Maine lobster roll

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