Wine Tips from Sommelier Tammie Ruesenberg of Olives - Las Vegas, NV
1. Have fun experimenting with how different wines react with different foods, after all that is the fun of learning…a bad combination can sometimes be as much fun as (or at least as memorable as) a good one.
2. If you have a very rare and old wine that you have saved for a special occasion, focus on that wine and keep the food VERY simple as to not overpower the wine.
3. The food here at Olives is very complicated with many layers of flavors going on, so when I am looking for a match I tend to match with the sauces in the dish. The main part of the dish, whether it be seafood, meat, etc., is generally a subtle factor in the pairing.
4. Spice is a huge factor in the pairing; a good general rule is the spicier the food, the more you need something like a Gewürztraminer or a Riesling.
5. Master of Wine Mark De Vere and Chef Sarah Scott have an interesting idea on wine pairing that allows you to just add a few simple ingredients to any dish so that the wine you’re having will keep the flavor profile that the winemaker intended…in other words, the wine will taste the same with out the food changing your perception of it. You can read more about it at: http://www.robertmondavi.com/FoodWine/article.asp
6. Two of my favorite pairings:
a. Olives Tuna Tartare with Domaine Schlumberger Pinot Gris, Alsace, France
The essential elements in the dish are siracha (heat), sesame oil, ginger and cucumber
b. Olives Sirloin Steak with Holdredge Pinot Noir, Sonoma, California
The dish is a Sirloin Steak served over Roquefort cream sauce with peas and country ham, topped with spinach and a shitake mushroom glaze. There’s a lot going on in this dish, but the wine balances incredibly well.