On May 29th, over 50 current students, faculty, staff and alumni joined Foster’s in-house Sommelier, Smitt Rojanasthien, Evening MBA ’14, for an evening of fine wine education and food pairings. The event was sponsored by the Evening MBAA, with support from the Evening MBA Excellence Fund.
Throughout the evening, guests sipped on five different wines with four different food pairings hand selected by Smitt to provide the perfect balance. This included:
- Solletico Prosecco for reception and toast
- New Harbor Sauvignon Blanc, paired with Citrus Lime Shrimp
- Sagelands Riesling, paired with Spicy Coconut Curry with Naan
- Primarius Pinot Noir, paired with Hardwood Smoked King Salmon
- Sterling Vintner’s Cabernet Sauvignon, paired with Sirloin Steak Strips
Smitt reminded the crowd that it pairing wines with food is not only about determining between a red or white wine, but selecting the right foods to match the tannins, acidity levels, and sweetness of the wine. Common knowledge suggests that red meats are best paired with red wines because the tannins help break down the fat and balance out the flavor. On the other end of the spectrum, white wines pair well with lighter foods, like salad and fish dishes because of higher acidity levels. One interesting fact that Smitt offered: “The old adage is that red goes with meat and white goes with fish. However, there are multiple things to consider when pairing wine with food. You have to consider different aspects of the dish… fat, acid, saltiness, sweetness, bitterness, and texture. Each element will affect the flavor of the wine, and in turn, the flavor of the food. Feel free to do white wine with meat and red wine with fish… the trick is to find the right wine”
“While there is no technically wrong or right pairing, some matches work better than others. The idea is to have each enhance and complement the other to increase the overall dining and drinking experience. But, at the end of the day, drink what you enjoy.”
Finally, understanding the audience of young business professionals and acknowledging that selecting wine can be a difficult and daunting task, Smitt laid out some tried and true rules for choosing wines during a business dinner.
- When in doubt, go with a sparkling wine, especially Champagne. The effervescence and acidity make it great for pairing and cleansing the palate.
- A Riesling is great for ethnic food… particularly anything spicy.
- The sauce or seasoning of a dish impacts the pairing more than the main ingredient. Keep that in mind. Big flavored sauce? Big flavored wine.
A little about Smitt: Growing up in Wenatchee, Washington, Smitt attended the University of Washington as an undergrad, earning a degree in German Cultural Studies. After college, he focused on the Hospitality Industry and studied wine through The Court of Master Sommeliers, earning his certification as a sommelier. He then decided to go “Double Husky” and entered the Foster School of Business for his MBA. Smitt currently works for Southern Wine & Spirits as the Moët Hennessy Portfolio Manager, partnering with Seattle’s top wine and spirits accounts, focusing on consumer and event marketing, as well as education. Smitt loves to travel, but when he’s in Seattle, he can be found spending time with family and friends, enjoying a glass of champagne.
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT