Hey New England! If you’re riding out the snow day like we are, chances are you’re at home with a generous glass of wine and some food warming up the kitchen. It’s no secret that wine and meat are two peas in a pod, but often times we don’t give these two equal attention.
In a recent piece, Eric Asimov reminds us that wine is food. Just like cereals or steaks, there are industrial, chemical-laden wines churned out of factories and local, carefully crafted varieties. Many “big box” wines have their flavors due to focus group reviews rather than ancestral family values. Treating wine as a food lets us consider it as an equal player on the table when it comes to sourcing and enjoying.
It’s remarkable how many issues echo across the meat and wine industry—from costly label certifications to less-than-transparent production. Chemicals and additives in wine are normalized and hidden much the same way we find antibiotics and hormones in meat. The term “organic” has a tenuous foothold in meat, where it still allows animals to live in confinement and eat organic corn. In wine, organic requires the use of organic grapes and yeast with “no added sulphur dioxide, a preservative that is used in all but the most natural of wines.”
Yet, a lot of factory wines use organic grapes and chemical additives. On the other hand, many small producers make wines that surpass organic standards but lack the finances to buy the certification. In meat, we have seen examples of both, though Walden prides itself on buying exclusively from farmers of the latter category.
As with any other food, trusting your source is essential to getting a product you can feel good about. We hope you enjoy your snow day and make sure to eat (and drink!) well.
Eric Asimov is the New York Times wine critic. If you’re looking for a pairing, he recommends “steaks and other rich, fatty meats can take bigger, more tannic reds, while burgers might be better with juicier reds. But it’s hard to go wrong, unless the wine is simply not very good. Would a white go with a red meat? Believe it or not, a big, dry riesling, or sometimes even a sweet auslese, can be just the thing. But I would try this only if you are feeling comfortably experimental.”
Read more on the importance of sourcing your wine here