Wine Thirty

A few years ago, my brother Benji and I were perusing an indoor flea market in Florida, trying to make sense of the endless amounts of junk coexisting under one roof. This was not a “flea market find” flea market, if you know what I mean. This was a fake Rolex, dollar cell phone cover variation. Benji was newly dating his now longtime girlfriend, and wanted to bring her back a present. His first mistake was buying her something from this flea market. At one point, I jokingly picked up a one-size-fits-all bathing suit cover-up that read, “It’s Wine Thirty”. If you know my brother, you’ll know how this story ends. If you don’t, spoiler alert. He bought the cover-up for his girlfriend. When I met her a few months later, she told me she didn’t get it and was curious why he bought her a one-size-fits-all anything.

The Building Blocks of Wine: Wines for Entertaining, a class hosted by sommelier, Viktorija Todorovska at the Chopping Block, is a far cry from the wine thirty cover-up. And though some participants may have been there to actually find sophisticated wines for entertaining, I, for one, was simply attracted to a cooking class that included wine and did not include cooking. The class normally combines four wines with four food pairings, however, the rose´ arrived late and we were lucky to receive a bonus fifth wine. So much for a productive Saturday.

So here is what I learned:

-Rose´ is the new black. Orange is over. Rose´ goes with everything. Not sure what to drink because you don’t know what pairs well with your food? Not sure what to bring to a party? Not sure what to serve at a party? Rose´ is the answer to your problems. Unless of course you are part of the rare club that does not like rose´. I am a member of that club.

-Never judge your wine by the first sip. The first sip is a throw away. It is simply to get your palate adjusted. The second sip is when you pay attention. The third sip is for chugging.

-Acidic wines pair with acidic foods. French wines pair with French food. Franzia pairs with Taco Bell.

-The body of a wine is essentially how thick it feels in your mouth. Think of the body in terms of milk. A full body wine is like whole milk, a medium, 2 percent and a light, you guessed it, skim.

-Gruyere cheese pairs wonderfully with a dry white wine. I tested that one to make sure.

-Cheese plus red wine equals absolutely not.

-The wine descriptor word of the moment is minerality. Pocket that one for Scrabble. Minerality refers to the wet rock smell or sensation you feel in the back of the throat or inhale through your nose. I think I need to become more polished before I use that word socially.

-The drier the wine, the lower the sugar content. From here on out, I will pair my box of Nerds with a dry wine. I’m watching my sugar.



The goat cheese salad, shrimp scampi and meatballs were simple and memorable. I will definitely be making the meatballs and homemade marinara, which were a combination of pork, chuck, ricotta and prosciutto. Apparently, the cheese rule only applies to cheese by itself, since they were paired with a lovely Azelia Dolcetto.


Shrimp Scampi


Gruyere and Baguette


Pairing red food with red wine