Learn How to Pair Food and Wine – Day 21

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WATCH on YouTube.

Learn to pair food and wine in the final episode of the series! We’ll break it down into simple steps and pair Kansas City BBQ with a local Missouri wine.

Wine of the Day

Augusta Estate Bottled Norton 2014
Find a Missouri Norton at Wine.Com


Parmesan Cheese, Dark Chocolate, KC BBQ* (Optional)

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Video Transcript

Hello everyone!

(HOOK) Fire up your grills! We’re pairing Kansas City (KC BBQ) with local Missouri wine in today’s introduction to food and wine pairing!

TITLE/SCREEN+ 21 Days to Wine

We have reached episode 21 of DiVino Wine School! An introduction to food and wine pairing

TITLE/SCREEN: Day 21 – Learn How to Pair Food and Wine

Hello all of you! I’m Annie Shapero, certified sommelier, and we have reached Day 21 – An introduction to food and wine pairing, the final episode in this series.

This may be the end of 21 Days to wine, but for those of you who are new to wine tasting, think of this is as your drivers license.  Time to hit the road and really learn how to drive.   Walk off.

TITLE/SCREEN: Don’t drink and drive!

If you haven’t subscribed to this channel, now is the time to do it. And you can always hit that ENROLL link for a copy of our class notes, even the ones you missed.

I want to thank you to all of you from the bottom of my heart, who followed along, left comments and asked questions.

Teaching is the best part of my job.

They say you shouldn’t drink alone. The truth is, wine tasting demands company.  The multisensory experience is meant to be shared. Wine inspires conversation, and I hope I have sparked your curiosity.  On that notes, let’s get down to business.

TITLE/SCREEN: Wine is a language. Learn how to speak it.

Walk on.

I wanted to wrap up the series with an introduction to food and wine pairing.

AS usual I brought some scent notes along: In this case black plums, black berries, dark chocolate and vanilla – all things you might and taste in the wine I brought today,

An American red grape called Norton, native my state of Missouri!

If you’re following foods if you’d like to play along:

TITLE/SCREEN: Salty, Aged Cheese

1) A salty, aged cheese like Parmigiano, Pecorino or Manchego.  Chedder will do in a pinch.

TITLE/SCREEN: Dark Chocolate

2) A piece of dark chocolate. The darker the better .

Feel free to press pause and go get them if you want to.

Title : press pause  (existing animation)

Now, food and wine pairing does have rules based on science, but  your favorite combinations are always the exception to the rule. 

TITLE/SCREEN: Eat and drink what makes you happy!

That means, no matter what I teach you today, if drinking Chardonnay with a hamburger makes you happy, by all means, keep doing it. The important thing is to keep an open mind and always try new things.

Before we get into wine pairing theory, you may have heard the expression, what grows together goes together.

TITLE/SCREEN: What Grows Together Goes Together.

Throughout much of the world, farmers and grape growers  supply the local population as they have for centuries, so a lot of the flavors have evolved together. 

We have a few examples of that here in the States.  There are some wonderful, mineral-rich white wines from the North Fork of Long Island that go perfectly with the oysters and fresh caught Atlantic salmon.

Let’s say you are eating something with a very traditional, regional flavor, like Spaghetti Bolognese, a thick, meaty red sauce that originated in central Italy.

It is rich, fatty and packed with powerful herbs and spices

Consider a wine from the same region, specifically something made with Sangiovese, which is a classic pairing, but also a typically high acid wine that helps balance the fat in the sauce.

TITLE/SCREEN: Balance Fat with Acid.

Here’s the basic science on why that works. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it light.

Wine is mostly water.

Then, there are the things you feel on the palate.


These are:

Glycerol (in the form of sugar and alcohol) which feels silky.

Acids and Tannins, which we might refer to as astringent – like Sea Breeze! Like a toner.  They tingle and pucker and clean your palate.

Bubbles/ or Effervescence  do to.

Minerals: Which cause a mouthwatering sensation, which also helps to clean your palate.

Then there are the aromas and flavors in their varying degrees of intensity.

The key is to balance the intensity of aroma and flavors in your food, with those of the wine, and find what feels good on the palate.

TITLE/SCREEN: Balance intensity of flavors and aromas in food and wine.

Remember when I said on day one that YES you can pair red wine with fish? That’s because not all red is robust and overwhelming, and sometimes seafood is prepared with rich creamy sauces and a lot of spices that need stronger flavors and textures to balance them.

Let’s taste this wine together. I brought a  2014 dry red Norton wine.  If you can’t find Norton, a domestic Cabernet Sauvignon is a good substitute.


This wine has a deep ruby red color and is pretty compact.


It’s got a lot fruit, specifically black plum, and Smoky spice.  You can taste a bit of vanilla from the oak barrels.


It’s 5 years old, so the acidity has really smoothed out.

The finish is medium-long with a lot of that smoke.

Remember, food and wine pairing is all about HARMONY.

The idea is to compliment, NOT CONTRAST, because that can create a clash on your palate. You want to bring out the best in your food and your wine.

TITLE/SCREEN: Compliment, Not Contrast

Acidic foods like pickles and a super citrusy Sauvignon Blanc will clash.

The same goes for cheese. Salty, sharp cheddar or Parmigiano  is better with a silkier and fruitier wine.

Now, taste the parmesan cheese. It’s very salty. If you let it melt on your tongue can you feel the fattiness in it?  Take your time.  You might feel like having a sip of something just to balance out that feeling and the salt.

Try a small sip of the wine now.  Repeat the process. First one, than the other.

Are the fruit flavors in the wine a little clearer, a little prettier.  Do you taste more than just salt in the cheese?

Now try the same thing with the dark chocolate.

If you are drinking a dry, acidic, or tannic red wine, it could leave you with a bitter sensation.

Let me know in the comments if it did.

Can you think of a better wine pairing for this dark chocolate? If you saw episode on Dessert Wine (Day 19) you might have a clue.  A sweet and fruity wine that feels silky on your palate will balance the bitterness and make this chocolate really delicious!

TITLE/SCREEN: Try dessert wine or sweet fortified wine with dark chocolate.

I encourage you to study more, but also to test out food and wine pairing for yourself.

To bring it all home, I brought in some Kansas City BBQ for my crew! They have worked so with me to produce this series that I thought we all deserved a treat.

It just so happens that the sweet and spicy and fatty wings/ribs/ burnt ends (TBD) From KC favorite, Q39  are a perfect match for the spicy red fruit and dry finish of our Local Missouri wine! My palate feels fresh and clean after every bite, and I cannot wait for another one.

What grows together goes together. Even in Missouri!

I hope you have enjoyed following along with me, and if you haven’t subscribed to this channel, please do it today! With your support I can make more videos like this one, and answer your wine questions.

On that note, I’ve got some BBQ to eat, and you’ve got a world of wine to discover.

(I might tear up, which would be amazing!)

See you next time! 


END TITLE/SCREEN: Wine is a language. Learn how to speak it.

Annie Shapero

Certified sommelier and DiVino founder, Annie believes that the language of wine is more than vocabulary. It is history, culture and most of all, storytelling. She created DiVino as a writer, educator, and wine consultant to bring those stories to life and give people the tools to join the conversation. Watch her free, 21-episode introduction to wine tasting on Youtube, 21 Days to Wine.

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