Article specially written for linganorewines.com
By Alessa Trent
Wine has this magical way of creating a totally new and superior gastronomic dining experience. This effect usually has something to do with the wine’s aroma, taste (such as earthiness, sweetness and sourness), acidity and alcohol content.
More often than not, people limit wine pairings to proteins or the ‘stars of the show’. But did you know that wine can also support other “members of the cast” like vegetables and grains and elevate your whole dining experience just as much? Grains, like much of the other components of entrees aside from the meat, tend to be overlooked despite playing a big role in the composition of many dishes. In this article, we will try to zoom in on grains and see how they can work with our wine. That said, here are the things you have to keep in mind.
Preparing your grains
Different grains require different cooking times and varying amounts of water. For instance, some grains like barley, buckwheat, bulgur and brown rice require more water than your typical white rice. To save yourself the hassle of memorizing every cooking how-to for each grain, consider buying a rice cooker that can memorize your preferences for you.
Case in point: the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 has seen massive popularity because of its ability to memorize ideal cooking settings for a wide assortment of grains. To take your cooking experience up a notch, this high-tech rice cooker also has specific modes for some of your favorite grains such as brown rice, sushi rice and white rice. In addition to a rice cooker, you may also want to consider getting an oven.
Believe it or not, there are a lot of grains out there — especially ancient ones — that can be cooked using the baking method, a dry heat cooking process that surrounds food with heat in an enclosed oven. It may seem a little over the top to buy an oven for grains given the price tag they usually have, but there are options out there that are available at an economical price. A great example of such an oven is Black+Decker 4-Slice Toaster Oven, an oven that’s under $100 and has four convenient cooking functions: convection bake, broil, toast, and keep warm.
When it comes to the actual pairings though, there are some things to remember:
Match smoky with bright, citrusy
A great example for matching smoky grains with bright, citrusy wine is freekeh. A staple grain from the Middle East that’s harvested while still green and young, freekeh has this innate smokiness that’s further enhanced when it is roasted or cracked. According to Food & Wine, unoaked white wines such as Linganore’s White Raven, Brut Albariño and Terrapin that have a bright, citrusy acidity can work well with food that has a smokey flavor because they can act like a zap of lemon or lime juice. Next time you are eating freekeh, try taking a sip of Brut Albariño and see how the smokiness blends with the refreshing wine.
Pair earthy with earthy
Wine pairings don’t always have to highlight the difference between the dish and the wine in terms of taste. Sometimes, it’s best to stick to complementary pairings where the food and wine echo each other’s taste. For instance, you can pair teff or sorghum with Linganore’s Revolution or Exposure. The Healthline’s list of ancient grains mentions how sorghum and teff both brandish earthy flavors that will go perfectly well with equally earthy wines like the ones mentioned above.
Go a little sweeter
As tempting as it may be to go for wines that have less sweetness when eating sweet things, it would be best to stick to wines that have the same level of sweetness if not sweeter. She Knows explains how the food’s sweetness can easily overpower wines, so if your wine is less sweet than the food you are eating, you might end up with an overly musty, bitter, or acidic taste in your mouth at every sip. When it comes to grains, the kinds that are on the sweeter side are farro and wheat berry. You can match these grains with Linganore’s Aria or Traminette, which have a light and a tad bit sweeter taste to it.
Grain-and-wine pairings may seem unusual, but it is something one can easily learn. You just have to take the time to research some of the basic wine pairing rules and learn about the unique and subtle taste of various grains.