CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I know I've always preached that wine appreciation is a very subjective undertaking, and that you should drink whatever you want, with or without food. I still feel that way.
Yet you may have noticed that most of my wine recommendations also come with a suggested food pairing. That's because I feel strongly that food brings out the best in wine - and vice versa.
Today I'll try to help you find the right bottle with your meal even when the wine rating experts don't give you a clue.
At least once a week I get asked, "What is your favorite wine?" My answer is always the same: "It depends."
For me, the question is incomplete unless I'm given some type of food context. For example, if asked, "What is your favorite wine with beef tenderloin," I would ask how it is to be prepared. Will the beef be marinated, dry-rubbed (and with what spices) or just seasoned with salt and pepper? Will it be grilled, pan-sautéed or oven-roasted?
Based upon the answers, I would recommend several wines that would marry nicely with that particular treatment of beef tenderloin. I don't believe wine can be objectively and properly evaluated on the merits of its own flavors, aromas and textures - without food.