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Winter Olympics Mood - Matching Wine & Mood
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved. Originally printed February 16, 2006. For more information go to

Matching wine and food? Any sommelier worth his salt can do that, and so can you. Today let's talk about the more subtle art of matching wine and mood, choosing a wine to go with what we're watching on television or hearing on the hi-fi. Er, home audio system.

Wine "geeks" with time on their hands occasionally ponder what wine goes best with a favorite musical genre...Burgundy with the Beatles, Beerenauslese with Wagner, White Zinfandel with Philip Glass, you get the idea.

Now the world - or many of us anyway - is tuned in to the Winter Olympics, and we face the question of an appropriate wine to serve with dinner on an Olympics night, saving a glass to sip while relaxing with speed-skating and downhill skiing and figure skating and bobsleds and luges and all the other exciting sports that we'll be enjoying for the next 10 days or so.

The diversity of games and the pageantry of the nations that makes the Olympics special offers all sorts of options, of course, but one obvious choice is a wine that honors the host country. That's easy for me to say...I love Italy and its wines.

Better still, how about a wine from Piemonte, the Alpine foothills region of Northwestern Italy, a major wine region whose capital is Torino, venue for the 2006 Winter Olympics. Piemonte's top wines are the classic and ageworthy Barolo and Barbaresco, made from the great red grape Nebbiolo, as are the similar if more second-tier Gattinara and Spanna. Add the food-friendly Dolcetto and Barbera and the occasional offbeat Freisa, and we're looking at quite a selection of hearty red wines to consider for our Olympics wine team, not to mention the dry Cortese white or the sweetly fizzy Moscato-based whites from Asti and its neighbors.


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