My vendor recently told me how she successfully facilitated a large wine event in a nearby community. One of her clients was a restaurateur in that town who knew key local government employees. The suggestion was made to hold a community food and wine festival much like A Taste of Gainesville except the wines would be exclusively provided from one source. Guess who got the contract!
The wines were to be moderately priced California fare since the anticipated crowd would be a cross section of the community and the powers that be didn't want anyone to feel intimidated by anyone else's pretensions. Everyone involved was in agreement on the plan.
Here's where it got a little sticky - The sommelier employed by the restaurant felt it was his job to match the wines with the foods. After all, that's his job! The problem as observed by this industry insider is that everyday California wines really don't lend themselves to sophisticated pairings. My vendor knew as much and tried to get others to see that non-specific pairings may be a better way to go.
Just to backtrack for a minute - Most decent moderately priced wines are sourced from coops, "crushpads" or mass marketers whose aim is to make wine just good enough for a given price point and generic enough to not offend anyone. If this effort touches enough of the right taste buds according to popular public perceptions, then the wine is a good enough example of whatever it is supposed to be. Food affinities are optional.
So...was the sommelier wrong about wanting to pair the wines with specific foods? Not hardly! Whatever he had in mind, given his training, would probably have been perfectly fine. And if he was really on his game, his pairings may have been tantalizing. On the other hand, those pairings could have been personally embarrassing or worse yet, they could have appeared pretentious.
Please join us this Saturday afternoon for a tasting of four very special French wines, three reds and a white. Please call 770-287-9463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment that afternoon. We don't want too many tasters in our little store at any given time.