Friday, 9 December 2016

Sweet and salty - pairing Sauternes with Caviar

Although perfectly enjoyable on its own, wine is considered as part of the meal in a social setting so wine and food pairing is always a talking point. Producers, when developing a new market or approaching new customers, are often on the outlook of matching their wines with local cuisines; or try new combination to create excitement. The out-of-the box pairing I recently tried was Sauternes and Caviar.

The wine was the Premier Grand Cru Classé Château Guiraud from Sauternes and the caviar was the haute couture Sturia Caviar from South West France. According to brand ambassadors Vincent de Beler from Château Guiraud and Yuna Tegani from Sturia Caviar, both companies share similar philosophy so to present both products together in a creative way just seems natural.

Château Guiraud’s history dated back to 1766. It has been practising organic farming since 1991 and certification in 2011. While respecting terroir and tradition, the château also embraces changes to suit today’s consumer preferences. The wine style has changed from powerful and heavy to more elegant and pure. 
was the first premiers crus classés to have received the organic

Sturia Caviar produces over half of the caviar in France (14 tons of the total 25 tons). Sturgeons are farmed from eggs for eight years before their roes are taken. Sturia takes care of the fish living conditions including ample space, water and nutrient quality to ensure they are healthy and produce top class roes. They also work with various chefs to produce caviar of different maturation to suit their needs. Like wine, caviar evolves with maturation period from almond to hazelnut and eventually cashew nut with intense flavour.

Returning to the theme—Sauternes and Caviar pairing. Vincent stressed that it was a sharing and discussion rather than imposing on us what is the best combination. Salty blue cheese and sweet wine is a classic pairing so it would be interesting to see how these salty roes fared with sweet wine.

We tried four pairings:
G De Guiraud 2015 with Oscietra Caviar,
Château Guiraud 2013 with Primeur Caviar,
Château Guiraud 2010 with Prestige Caviar,
Château Guiraud 2002 with Vintage Caviar.

We all agreed that Château Guiraud 2002 and the Vintage Caviar (the signature of Sturia with six months maturation) was the best match. The Oscietra Caviar, also with six months maturation, was delicious on its own but a few of us felt it was too strong with all the wines, although some guests like it because the wine enhanced the taste of sea.

The take of this exercise is that food and wine matching is fun and can be creative. We don’t need to like the same pairing but we can still sit around the table to share and discuss. Some consumers wary that their wine and food choice might not be acceptable by ‘professionals’ but we all have different palates and preferences so we should just follow our tastebuds rather than blindly led by others’ opinions. I may not choose caviar with Sauternes but hey, for those who want a little indulgence, why not?

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