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Off The Vine

Many wines can go with certain food

Lorn Razzano —

For as long as I can remember there has been a raging — debate over wine choices with certain foods. The debate is firmly divided — between two camps; those who say that any wine can go with any food at — any time and those who believe that there is a historical and chemical — balance that requires certain wines to pair naturally with certain food — groups. This crazed argument has flung itself into the 21st century with — both sides arguing the same question over and over again.

The two sides are called, respectively, the New Schoolers — and the Traditionalists. There is a third group which has emerged over — the past ten years or so called the Centrists. The Centrist believe that — a meal should be served around the wine at hand instead of the meal being — the centerpiece and the wine chosen as an afterthought. The New Schoolers — believe that most wines will go with most foods.

There is faction of New Schoolers who will tweak the odds — a bit and have red wine with seafood but will base the seafood in a red — wine sauce and garlic.

There are wine drinkers out there that will only drink — red wine and will do the same thing with traditionally white wine fare — and spice up chicken and fish with Cajun spices or grill with heavy sauces — allowing for the red wine to be served.

Let me give you a brief list of cuisine and food options — that have been tried and true but with a twist for those of you who wish — to step out of the box a little:

Indian food: I love Indian food! Here are some options: — Slightly sweet German or Oregon Rieslings. These do well with the curry — and chutney crowd. Dry Gewuerztraminer from France, very spicy and clean. — Red: Beaujolais with tons of spicy fruit and dry. Bardolino from the Veneto, — Italy, also fruity but light and dry.

Salmon: Got to be pinot noir from Oregon or French Burgundy. — There are those that will argue that salmon is a red meat. Let's look — at soft Chiantis and merlot, they would be great with salmon. If you are — going to do a white wine it has to be pinot blanc or big, fleshed out — chardonnay.

Shellfish: Muscadet (very flinty white wine) pinot gris — or Orvieto. A very dry Riesling would do nicely, too.

Red meat: Pick zinfandel from Amador County, California. — One of the very finest reds for the money is the stately Barbera from — Italy. Of course cabernet sauvignon, syrah or some of the Washington State — merlot's would be divine. Heavy Chianti or Barolo from the north of Italy — or powerhouse Shiraz from Australia would be tempting offerings as well.

Poultry: Hmm ... depending on how it is prepared is the — key. Baked chicken with sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or Washington — State is lovely with poultry. Sometimes a fruity red like Valpolicella — or a light zinfandel works if the chicken is done on the grill with barbecue — sauce may just be the ticket.

Vegetarian cuisine: Superb, beautifully prepared and executed — vegetarian cuisine like the Locomotive restaurant serves in Eugene is — a world class treat and allows for the perfect New School approach to — wine selection. Of all of the types of cuisine offerings, vegetarian cuisine — is an open book for wine lovers of all types. The rich variety of colors — and aromas in vegetarian cooking allow one to go from sweet crisp wines — to deep reds with broodingly woody tannins. This is a fun option for wine — lovers and should be experienced for the latitude of choices that can — be savored without regard to meat based cuisine.

Lotsa fun! Have a good time and be creative! See you next — time.