Tag Archives: wine pairing

Splendor in the Glass: Food and Wine Pairing with Pink Martini

27 May

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By Molly Norton

Pairing with Pink Martini's Timothy Nishimoto

Okay, so it wasn’t a dinner party with the globally acclaimed jazz band Pink Martini, but rather an evening of wine and food pairing with Pink Martini’s singing celebrity sommelier, Timothy Nishimoto. Who knew a person could be an international singing sensation, operate a vibrant lounge business, AND be a certified sommelier? Timothy’s wine bar and bistro, Vino Paradiso has a great vibe and does some kick-butt wine tasting dinners. The New York times called it “Portland’s Swankiest Wine Bar.” Check them out here. Read Timothy’s interview in Wine Spectator magazine here.

The Strategy

Anyway, back to the dinner party. After attending a wine and food pairing demonstration at the California Culinary Institute, we were interested in hosting something similar for a local group of parents – since becoming a parent can rather limit fancy evenings out (or any evenings out that don’t involve sippy cups and goldfish crackers). In researching Timothy and his philosophy on wine, he jumped out as being the perfect person to with whom to collaborate; he had a non-snob approach to wine, focused on local (where possible), and highlighted bottles that were delicious and affordable.

DIY Food and Wine Pairing

Timothy was a terrific collaborator; he made suggestions based on the types of food we wanted to serve and we came up with a crowd-pleasing menu with both veggie and non-veggie options quickly. Best of all, he trucked down to our house with the wine and appropriate glassware. What a star.

Most of the ingredients are easy to find at your local farmers’ market/grocery store and truffle oil can be procured from Whole Foods for about $14 a bottle (and lasts a long time).


Oro Prosecco di Treviso, from the Veneto region in Italy $13
Paired with smoked almonds and St. André triple cream brie
The nuttiness of the almonds picked up the nuttiness in the Prosecco and the slight effervescence helped tame the lovely rich fattiness of the triple cream (rich fattiness is a cheese descriptor, right?).

Pine Ridge/Archery Summit “Forefront” Pinot Noir, ’08, from Willamette Valley $22
Paired with truffled wild mushroom crostini with thyme
This was a huge hit (get the recipe here)

Truffled Wild Mushroom Crostini

There is no more perfect combination that an earthy Pinot Noir matched with earthy mushrooms. This pairing even won over those who weren’t mushroom fans.

Huntington Petite Sirah, ’07, from various vineyards in California $11
Paired with dates wrapped in bacon (and grilled until bacon is crisp)
For this course we grilled Angus beef skewers with a little Herbs du Provence. We also paired this with milk chocolate.
I’m a big Sirah/Syrah/Shiraz fan and this is one of my favorites. And Huntington is totally affordable. The smokiness and weight of the Syrah matches really nicely with grilled meats (and bacon).

La Morandina Moscato d’Asti, ’08, from the Piedmont region of Italy $19
Paired with peach and cucumber sandwiches with basil cream cheese
This was also an excellent match thanks to Timothy’s excellent palate – the peachy, creamy, refreshing Moscato matched the peachy cheese in the sandwich, the crispness of the cucumber, and the basil “herbaciousness.”

Splendor in the Wine Glass

The event opened with Timothy’s instruction and tastings in the kitchen and ended with casual wine tasting around the fire where he shared his experiences wine tasting during travels and tours with the band. Afterwards, guests walked away with several bottles of wine, Pink Martini’s new Splendor in the Grass album, and a new appreciation for the art of matching wine with food.