I have never watched The Josh Kornbluth Show but I had a good excuse in the appearance of Check, Please! Bay Area's very own Leslie Sbrocco as one of Josh's featured guests.
In this particular episode, Leslie undertakes to explain some basics of wine drinking to oeno-novice Josh and also pairs a few rather interesting foods with certain wines. First, Leslie explained her four basic "S"es of wine tasting: See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, and Spit/Swallow. I only presume there's a possibility of swallow even if she didn't expressly say so. I mean, I've definitely seen Leslie swallow — well, all you viewers have seen her swallow — her wine.
Starting off with the swirl, Josh hysterically assumed that we swirl our wine "in order to make the wine lose its confidence and disorient it." Not quite, Josh. Leslie redirected his thoughts and said that we swirl our wine to make the aromas pop and become fully realized within our glass.
I'm a fairly regular wine drinker and passed my wine course in culinary school with flying spittoons, so all of Leslie's directions about how to identify, swirl, and taste wines was fine and dandy for the beginners in the viewing audience but what I found really fascinating was the food and wine pairings.
First, Leslie started off with a fairly basic and easily recognized pairing: Thai food (Pad Thai, I believe) and Riesling or rosé. Josh was quite impressed with and excited by the Riesling pairing, but felt he could leave the rosé.
Next, Leslie presented a thickly piled pastrami sandwich and invited Josh to try it with a California Zinfandel called Seven Deadly Zins — oh, those punny Zinfandel makers! — and an Australian Shiraz that Leslie described as peppery with lots of juicy fruit. Josh loved the deli delight with the Aussie Shiraz but wasn't tempted to Zin with the California offering. See? I can do it too!
Moving to the sweeter side of things, Leslie had Josh try Rice Krispie treats with a late-harvest Riesling and a late-harvest Oregon Pinot Gris. Josh said while he appreciated and respected where Leslie was going with the Riesling, he adored the Rice Krispie treats with the Pinot Gris.
Leslie's final pairing — before she explained and demo'd how to sabre a bottle of Champagne — was single serving bottles of Champagne (complete with straw) and a bowl of popcorn. Now that's an adult indulgence I am extremely excited about. Just think: Valentine's Day, a great movie — in the DVD player because I'm getting too impatient to cough up over ten dollars just for the experience of dealing with chattering people behind me who smack too loudly on their movie food for me to hear the actors on the screen with any sort of comfort — and tiny bottles of Champagne that will play beautifully off a big bowl of buttered popcorn. I think I might even ask my husband to join me.