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Daring pairings

18 Jun 2010 by Linda Murphy

Purple pager Evan Goldstein is at it again, applying his Master Sommelier skills and deep knowledge of wine and food pairing to a new book, Daring Pairings: A Master Sommelier Matches Distinctive Wines with Recipes from His Favorite Chefs (University of California Press, $34.95/£24.95).

Goldstein, who learned to cook from his mother, the celebrated San Francisco chef Joyce Goldstein, earned his MS, then supplied his expertise to a host of wine companies, including Seagram Chateau & Estates Wines, Diageo, Allied Domecq and Beam Wine Estates. Now he's a principal at Full Circle Wine Solutions in San Francisco, which offers wine and spirits education and hospitality training.

Daring Pairings is Goldstein's follow-up to Perfect Pairings, published in 2006, in which he explained, in great detail, how various wines of the world match - or don't - with certain ingredients and preparation methods.

In this new book, Goldstein spreads his wings, taking 36 non-mainstream wines and matching them with recipes contributed by acclaimed US restaurant chefs, including Hubert Keller, Suzanne Goin, David Kinch, Cindy Pawlcyn, Dan Barber and Tom Douglas. Yet the wines come first - Txakoli, Mencia, Trebbiano, Cinsault, Albarino, Arneis, Aglianico, Carmenere, Garganega, Mourvèdre, Pinotage and Xinomavro among them - with the chefs creating dishes to suit the wines, and not vice versa.

Each variety has its own chapter, which includes the grape's history, alternative names, aroma and flavour profiles, where it's grown, the culinary ingredients that complement it (and don't), and notes on the factors involved in the growing and vinifying of the wine. The recipe that follows each wine type pairs with the wine, and Goldstein makes specific brand recommendations, broken down by price.

Daring Pairings is terrific for those who choose the wine first, then decide which dish to serve with it. Goldstein shows them how, and why. Yet it's also a valuable primer for anyone wanting to learn about obscure wines (obscure at least in their parts of the world), even if they aren't interesting in wine and food matching. Verdejo with shrimp tartine with fava bean, almond and mint pesto, anyone?

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