The Joy of Everyday Wine Pairing
Originally published in The Heart of Hillsborough, June 2018
The search through the grocery store wine aisle - especially when coupled with a larger shopping trip - can be daunting. Although many stores have fantastic staff that can answer questions and help select wine for their customers, a common question I get is, “what affordable wines might be worth trying if I am pressed for time while shopping?” Further, the follow-up question usually includes a request for specific wines that are also versatile in food pairing. Even though enjoying wine is highly dependent upon personal taste, I wanted to address these questions by providing a few everyday wines available at Hillsborough grocery stores which I believe are worth trying and pairing with your favorite meals. With only a handful of local grocery stores in town, this is a relevant piece for the weekly shopper who has limited time but an interest in wine and trying something new.
The Hillsborough grocery stores I chose were Food Lion and Weaver Street Market, and I opted to select a red and a white wine from each that is priced under $20 per bottle, may be paired with a range of foods (or enjoyed on its own), and serve as a jumping off point for exploring and experiencing similar wines. For the latter, I deliberately chose a different region for each of the four wines on the list, and included are brief tasting notes to help serve as a guide. What is great about these wines is they all can pair well - and in interesting ways - with an array of meals, including most meat, chicken, seafood, and vegetarian dishes; and many of them would also do nicely with diverse ethnic specialties, as they do not overpower but rather provide a balanced, more nuanced compliment to even the most complex meal.
Food Lion (Both wines are available at the two Hillsborough locations)
2016 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles, California): Rich and full bodied with flavors of ripened dark cherry, berry jam, and cocoa.
2017 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand): Pleasantly light bodied with flavors of citrus (notably grapefruit) and passionfruit.
Weaver Street Market (Downtown Hillsborough)
2016 Finca Fabian Tempranillo (La Mancha, Spain): An organic wine, airy and inviting, with flavors full of cherry, stone fruit (including plum), and a subtle hint of blackberry.
2016 Famille Hugel Gentil (Alsace, France): A blend of Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Muscat, it is unexpectedly delicate, with soft floral, dried apple, and apricot flavors.
Ultimately, the choice of selecting a red or a white wine is yours, but it is fun to experiment with those you like, branching out to new ones and pairing them with your favorite meals. Further, why conform to any “rules” when there are many affordable bottles available for your own experimentation! To explore everyday wine pairing more in-depth, I recommend checking out the book, “Renaissance Guide to Wine and Food Pairing,” by Tony DiDio and Amy Zavatto (Alpha Books, 2003).