Bad, bad accidental wine pairing tonight. Terrible. This is what happens when one spouse prepares the meal, the other selects the wine, and we don’t give much thought to it either way.
After a mouthful of garlicky tzatziki, my Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio (rosso) tastes like liquid pepperoni. A full glass of water later, I can still taste this unholy mix. I know the wine’s good, and I know the tzatziki is good, but this is the worst pairing I’ve ever encountered.
So, make me feel better. Have you ever had a good wine and good meal that came together so poorly?
Gosh, yes, so many it’s impossible to remember all (I didn’t do the pairings though):
'89 Angelus and '89 La Mission Haut Brion with a particularly spicy Szechuan beef dish. I took one sip each wine to pair and set them aside for after the meal. The spicy beef just killed the 2 wines and the pairing of flavors itself was pretty bad.
'90 Haut Brion with uni fried rice. Totally no connection between the dish and wine.
'90 Haut Bailly with turtle/black chicken soup. I get what the one who did the pairing was going for - matching earthiness, but the result was simply too weird for words. I actually gagged when I tried the pairing.
'59 Siran with a dessert of strawberry pavlova. I’ve been seeing old Bdx being paired with berry and cream desserts lately and cannot, for the life of me, understand the allure. Sure, they are riding on bottle-age sweetness, but, come on! It just seems like a total waste of fine, aged Bdx to me.
1999 Jean Noel Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet Maltroie 1er Cru with sushi. The wine was good, the food excellent, but, together, a complete mess.
2002 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Rosé with Wagyu beef rib-eye steak (at a Veuve Clicquot dinner). Give me a break. I’ve also had a vintage Ruinart rosé with roast lamb loin. Good as the rosé bubblies and the dishes were themselves, I just can’t get into the pairing. In my experience and in my opinion, rosé bubblies just don’t have enough inherent “oomph” to stand up to main courses of meat.
1988 Krug with an almond soufflé. I’ve found the '88 Krug, though always nice, much less round, generous and complex as opposed to, say, the 1990. This pairing simply didn’t work for me - not a horrid pairing per se, but a waste of good vintage bubbly. I had mine after the soufflé.
1990 Carbonnieux rouge with seared foie gras. Seems like everyone in Bdx drink reds with foie gras (seared, torchon, etc.). I can’t get it. I always find the red clashing with the foie.
2000 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc with Tartare de Bar en Surprise au Caviar d’Aquitaine (a French spin on ceviche topped with local caviar). Too soft, somewhat flabby, too tropical for the fish dish, it just weighed down my palate and made the dish a bit flat and boring.
1996 Haut Bailly with spicy, crispy Chinese pork ribs. This pairing was my fault, I don’t know what I was thinking about at the time. An unpleasant clash of flavors.
2001 Suduiraut and 2005 de Rayne Vigeau with Millenarian Salad à la Hong Hong. Muddled pairing, way too many things going on on the palate.
2003 Filhot & 1997 de Myrat with deep-fried oyster (similar to a tempura). Talk about pushing the envelope way too far. I didn’t like this pairing but many disagreed with me. Fine, they can have it all.
Hell yeah. Brutally spicy German sausage from the grill paired with a brand-new 2005 Dominus (as feminine a Cab as they come). Total disaster. I don’t know what I was thinking. Should have gone with beer…