Category Archives: Food

Dessert Wine for Beginners

Lucas Stoioff stands out as cofounder of the DineAmic Group, owner of several award-winning Chicago area clubs and restaurants. Luke Stoioff enjoys considering what wines work best with different foods and parts of a meal.

At the end of a meal, many wine connoisseurs turn to a dessert wine for a little taste of sweetness. These wines are intended to be sipped slowly from a small glass and should complement, not overwhelm, the meal. Dessert wines are available in a variety of sweetness levels, a gradation that largely depends on how the winemakers created the sweetness.

All dessert wines start with particularly sweet wine grapes, but makers of dessert wines stop the fermentation process before all of the original fruit sugar becomes alcohol. Most of the sweetness in sparkling dessert wines and light, fruity wines comes from the grape type. Makers of richer sweet wines, by contrast, may let the fruit ripen longer on the vine or expose the grapes to a process known as “noble rot.” Sauternes and quarts de chaume undergo this process.

Other winemakers lay grapes onto a mat to dry and become raisins, thus concentrating their sugar. Vineyard owners lucky and diligent enough to have a freeze and harvest grapes before the freeze ends may be able to produce an ice wine, which has a honey-sweet taste. Dessert wines may also come from a fortification process, in which winemakers add grape brandy for higher alcohol content. Ports and sherries are well-known results of this process.

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Wine Pairings for Italian Main Dishes

As principal and co-founder of the DineAmic Group, Lucas “Luke” Stoioff has played a key role in creating the new Siena Tavern, an Italian fusion experience. Lucas Stoioff, a food and wine aficionado both personally and professionally, enjoys pairing good wine with Italian dishes.

Although many people automatically associate Italian food with a glass of red wine, the complexities of the nation’s many cuisines prompts a closer exploration of the pairing. For example, the seafood dishes of northern Italy tend to call for a light and dry Soave white or a fruity and floral Lugana. Cream sauces tend to also pair nicely with a white wine; many connoisseurs prefer an Alfredo dish with a sweet Pinot Grigio or Riesling.

The classic tomato-based cuisines of Italy’s central regions still go best with an acidic red wine. The Chianti, which comes from the Sangiovese grape, naturally coordinates with tomato sauces while contrasting with the olive oils and cheeses that enhance the cuisine. A Chianti wine also pairs well with a Tuscan meat dish, as do many of the other unique wines from the Sangiovese region. Like the Zinfandel, the Sangiovese wines bring out the flavors of a spicier and richer dish.