Oftentimes I am asked how I choose which food to go with which wine, or vice versa. As a foodie and a chef, for me, I start with the wine. My choice of wine is most often from Washington — I am a BIG fan of our wines.
I start with tasting the wine, sorting out the characteristics that I like and want to complement or mimic. I keep in mind the nose or aroma of the wine, relative sweetness, acidity, tannins, etc. The wine remains a constant in my equation — it is finished, I cannot change it. I can influence the flavor of the food pair, from the main ingredient, to the prep and seasonings, to the sauce.
It’s a little like redecorating your bathroom. Do you start with the paint color, or the towels? I start with the towels, because my color choices there are limited in the marketplace. I can influence the color of the walls with unlimited color choices to match or complement with paint. I think about the end product, the result I want to achieve, and work back from there.