This is the first of a series of posts in the “Cherry on top” category.  This category of posts contains helpful information and hints on how to add the finishing touches to your meal.

Today, let’s explore the art of wine pairings. 

So, what do I know about wine pairings?  Well, it just so happens I took a class on them at Johns Hopkins University.  That’s right, Johns Hopkins, that really prestigious medical school. I thought well if they are good at medicine and drugs, why not take a class on alcohol there.

So, I leave work and head off to my first class at the University (yes, the only post graduate class I have taken was drinking wine) . The teacher asks me to help him carry in some wine.  Let’s see, 20 students, a few wines a night, yeah I can do that.  WRONG.  When I looked at the professor’s car, I thought to myself “Surely this can’t be for tonight, he must be opening one of those wine emporium stores or something.”  And so the class begins.  The teacher informs us that we will sample around 10-11 (not a typo) wines a night.  I’m sure by now you can see where this is going.  I think that by the time we all had our 8th wine sample, the hope of anything educational happening was slim, as was the hope we would even direct our attention towards the teacher when he was talking.

During the class the teacher helped us to identify the different “notes” in the wines.  Some people were born with the gift of a great pallet and an amazing sense of smell.  Then there’s me.  The teacher would randomly ask you what you smelled and tasted in the wine.  To play it safe, I just stuck with black pepper, or cherry, as I quickly learned most of the wines had those notes.  Apparently one wine had a “barnyard” note in it.  I couldn’t taste that, but I’m not so sure I’m disappointed that wine doesn’t taste like a farm to me… 

Anyway, since my wine appreciation class is mostly a blur from the ammount of alcohol we had, I’ve compiled my own wine pairing guide below:

Type of Wine When to Serve
Wine with high alcohol content Best served at family get-togethers, specifically reunions and Christmas.
Boxed wine Great for a Friday night. Warning: has a slight aftertaste of regret.
Individual serving wines Great for your children’s “sporting” events.
REALLY cheap red wine Suggested wine to bring to your snobby neighbor’s party who brags about the new white carpet they just bought.
Moderately priced wine ($25-40) Great to present to give boss before performance reviews when you’ve spent the entire year planning a food blog instead of programming.


At this point, you have probably either A) lost hope for any real advice on wine tasting in this article (OR) B) have no desire to follow any advice I give you.

Fear not!  I’ve actually found a great resource where you can put in what you are eating, and it will give you a recommendation on what to pair it with.  Check this out:  I promise that the advice is legitimate.