Food and Wine Pairing Basics From the Experts Behind The Dreaming Tree Wines
We were lucky enough to be invited to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chef Dan Barber’s iconic farm-to-table restaurant in Tarrytown, New York, for a dinner hosted by The Dreaming Tree winemaking team. Fabulous wine and Chef Barber’s food is just not something you pass up.
The Dreaming Tree wines was launched in 2011, a collaboration between Sonoma County winemaker Steve Reeder and Dave Matthews (yes, that Dave Matthews). The company was named after “The Dreaming Tree,” a track from the Dave Matthews Band “Before These Crowded Streets” album.
The label has continued to add to its portfolio since its debut—its latest—a very appealing “Everyday” white, the kind of wine you could sip just about anytime, anywhere.
The Dreaming Tree winemaker Tom Gore shared with us: “For our dinner, Chef Dan Barber created an original menu that progressed from light and fresh to heavier and more complex, and finishing with a fruit-forward ending. It was important for us to create a careful balance between flavors and we went back and forth a few times on our dessert pairing before finally deciding to pair the Whole Wheat Chocolate Brioche with our red blend, Crush. As a meal progresses, so does the wine.”
Since the spectacular dinner took special care with food and wine pairings we had to ask The Dreaming Tree winemakers Sean McKenzie and Gore for their food and wine pairing tips. Gore shared: “My biggest tip for pairing food with wine is keeping it simple and balanced. Consider the weight of both the food and the wine, making sure that they are equal partners in body and richness, so as not to overwhelm one another. Hearty foods pair well with hearty wines, and likewise for lighter foods and lighter wines.”
McKenzie advised, “Looking for flavor links is a great way to approach pairing food with wine. Wine aromas tend to remind us of food already, so you can create a great pairing by matching the ingredients in a dish to the aromas and flavors of a wine. The zesty flavors and acidic backbone of The Dreaming Tree Everyday pair beautifully with shellfish and cut through spicy dishes, like Mexican salsa and Indian curry.”
As far as the rules to adhere to when planning a wine progression, McKenzie advised: “In general, a meal progresses from light to heavy to sweet, and we think wine pairings should be the same way. The best way to come up with a progression is by starting with a light white wine, moving to a more full-bodied white, then on to a light red, followed by a heavier red and finally end with a sweet dessert wine.”
Click through the gallery above to go inside the intimate dinner hosted by The Dreaming Tree. Photos courtesy of The Dreaming Tree/Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com.