Book giveaway: food-wine pairings that knock your world

pagedornenburg.jpgThe good people over at Forbes have assembled a pageview-baiting slide show with some top chefs and foods and wines that made them sing. Not literally, but you get the idea.

So let’s help them out with some content for their next slide show: what’s a particularly memorable food-wine pairing that you thought might work out but went awry, perhaps horrendously? While wine can no doubt conquer any culinary terrain as we have seen in our “impossible food-wine pairings,” there are still some clunkers that knock your world rather than rock it. Take, for example, zinfandel and grilled eggplant, which I paired one day only to the effect of unleashing tannin-on-tannin warfare in my mouth.

Hit the comments with your clunkers and you will be entered into a random drawing to win a prize: a new copy of the comprehensive food pairing book What to Drink with What You Eat, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.

Post your comment by Monday to qualify, check back here on Tuesday to see if you were the winner.

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25 Responses to “Book giveaway: food-wine pairings that knock your world”

  1. Worst pairing: Cuban sandwich and Torrontes.

  2. I’m a vegetarian so any massive red ruins what I eat – I leave those to be meals in themselves.

  3. My most memorably horrible pairing was actually at my wedding. In a bid to save money, we didn’t have any champagne. When it came time to cut the cake, all I had to cleanse my palate was a glass of rather lousy cab. Thankfully the joy of the occasion tempered the Cab + wedding cake combo.

  4. Worst pairing: Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Lambrusco

    Let’s just say that, in college, you make do with what is around you. Extra point: Lambrusco in a 3 Liter jug for 8.99

  5. My worst pairing was a stir fry with sauteed asparagus and a bottle of rioja. (It wasn’t until after that meal that I read how pernicious asparagus can be!)

  6. I’m trying to think, I’m pretty sure I’ve had some “how do I politely spit this back in the glass moments”, I’m from Missouri, and I think I have been served a white, not knowing it was local, with shellfish, and when I went for refreshment and acidity I instead found a big swallow of syrup, as we have some truly horrid, sweet, cloying white wines from around here. It just goes to show that if your host asks if you want white or red, it is a good idea to ask them to clarify that question.

  7. My worst? Probably a bottle of 1995 Ch. Papeterie that I had with steak at a dinner party.

    The bottle was corked.

    My host was too lit to notice (he’d consumed most of a bottle of merlot from the Yakima valley as an aperetif), but wasn’t too lit to notice that I wasn’t drinking up. He insisted; it was one of the nicest bottles he had in his cellar at the time, and he opened it specifically for me.

    Ugh. Wet newspaper stored in a basement covering a beautiful steak. It makes me shudder to remember.

  8. My worst was a pepperoni and anchovy pizza with a Cortona Syrah d’Alessandro. I figure pizza + italian wine = good. It wasn’t.

  9. Tomato provencal soup and a Piedirosso. Heavy Southern French soup, fruit forward Southern Italian wine–clever, right? We thought so. Oh. My. God. This bottle started out really nice, but the second it mixed with the flavors in the soup, it turned into devil juice–gym socks soaked in week-old Lipton tea. We actually laughed out loud. Then we poured it down the sink, cracked open the Bandol, and finished dinner.

  10. I don’t drink, but I like to serve wine to my guests — therefore I NEED this book to help me!

  11. This is a fun list! I once tried my son’s KD mac & cheese with the Bordeaux I was drinking … yuck! A cheap Chilean chardonnay worked much better two weeks later.

    You’ve provided such incredibly helpful research here … I’m going to ensure that that none of these combos are in my food-and-wine matching tool (


  12. I recently made seared duck breasts with a lovely and interesting candied kumquat and mustard sauce. I poured a Pinot Noir, my “go to” duck fav, but the spiciness of the mustard (along with a touch of jalepeno) ruined the pinot! Suddenly more tannic than I ever expected a pinot could be and all the heat amped up on the palate. Yuk. I’ll do the recipe again, but next time I’ll try a light beaujolais instead.

  13. I had some slow-cooked short ribs with a Super Tuscan. Hey, where did the wine go?! On the palate, it disappeared next to the meat.

  14. Hello, I do not know anything about food and wine pairings. I have a niece who takes classes and loves fine wine. I would love to win this book for her! Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks very much…..Cindi

  15. I always find features like the one at Forbes to be fairly useless for real world cooks.

    Maybe it is just me.

  16. I would have to say that it was a simple roasted chicken with celery root & fennel, paired it with an Andrew Murray Enchante which is a Marsanne/Roussanne Rhone style white. If it had been anything like its Rhone valley counterparts, it should have been a serviceable if not earth-shattering accompaniment. The wine was so slathered in oak that it was nearly indistinguishable from an overblown Cali chardonnay. It sucked with the chicken, and frankly just sucked.

  17. Taurino Notarpanaro and grilled (rare) ahi tuna…the quirky slightly oxidized nature of this wine paired with the rare tuna, just made the tuna taste like blood, not the yummy rare type but the kind our fanged vampire friends look for. super icky and disappointing. *disclaimer this was not my choice but one shared with me after the mistake had been made!

  18. It was doomed to failure. What were we thinking???
    A pasta sauce made with bacon, spinach, chickpeas and garlic does not pair well with a robust Minervois la Liviniere red!

  19. I was in a frantic hurry at the grocer’s several days ago, and accidentally grabbed a rosé instead of a merlot. Later, when I pulled the bottle off my wine rack for dinner, to go with our yummy spaghetti with spiced meatballs, I realized the tragic error. Is this stuff even fit to be called wine? I took one, no make that two just to be sure, sips, and couldn’t even finish. Having nothing else on hand, I poured some pomegranate juice and called it a meal.

    I need this book!!

  20. A Chilean Carmeniere with Puttanesca sauce–the wine was intensely green and it clashed horribly with the sauce.

  21. Nebbiolo with Thanksgiving turkey. I meant to drink Dolcetto d’Asti.

  22. Carolina-style pulled pork and coleslaw paired with a Burgundy pinot noir. The wine, which is delicious on its own, tasted like I was licking the inside of an old aluminum can with the meal. It ruined the wine for the rest of the night, long after the food was done! A sad, sad thing.

  23. Wow, these were great! Forbes, move over–we should definitely do a slideshow of our own!

    I went over to my favorite random number generator,, and generated an integer: 4! Raul, come on down!

    Send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll send you out a copy of the book. Let us know your thoughts when you get it…

  24. Brach’s Pectin Jelly Beans and Torrentos. It was kind of unconscious gobbling–not a well-thought out pairing–but I became startled I thought I had a bad bottle.

    Yes, believe it or not, it turned out to be the jelly beans. The wine was just fine.

    Perhaps one flavor Jelly Bean would have worked better than a whole handful.

  25. […] First time here? Check out the “site highlights,” send in a question, subscribe to the latest posts by RSS, daily email, or free monthly updates by email (right sidebar). Thanks for visiting!SPIT: Food and wine gone awry Cabernet and wedding cake, Cabernet and mac n cheese, pulled pork and Burgundy – great comments, and they’re yours! Check out all of the great and wonderful food pairings that knocked your world. […]


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