Through a simple exercise, Handelman — who is the director of wine education for Kendall-Jackson — demonstrated how produce and wines with similar pigmentation make ideal partners for one another. To see what that exercise was — you can recreate it at home as a learning tool yourself! — read more.
Each attendee had three glasses of wine — a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, and a Pinot Noir — and a "produce wheel" with various-colored fruits and vegetables. As I tasted my way around the clock that was my plate, it was clear that Handelman had a valid point. Green zebra tomatoes and cabbage possessed the "high" notes and acidity to pair best with a zippy varietal like Sauvignon Blanc, while the sweet-mellow flavor of golden corn and raspberries seemed naturally designed to accommodate a rich, creamy Chardonnay. And deeply hued eggplant and runner beans? Perfect with a Pinot Noir.
Perhaps the most dramatic lesson came when Gilian asked participants to try fruits and vegetables that are available in both light and dark varieties: white raspberries and red raspberries, green cabbage and red cabbage, green tomatoes and red tomatoes, golden beets and red beets. In this drill, each produce item undoubtedly paired best with a wine in the same color spectrum.
If you've never taken the time to explore visual cues when pairing food and wine, I highly recommend you give it some thought. Have you ever tried something like this at home?