Wine no food

Wine and food: inseparable, right? Well, maybe not.

A recent survey of frequent wine drinkers produced interesting results. First, insight into survey: “Frequent wine drinkers” drink wine several times a week. They represent about 40 percent of wine drinkers, but they account for more than 85 percent of wine consumed. If this is you, wine makers really, really care what you think.

Among that group, about 40 percent report they drink wine during a meal. Wonderful. Wine is food; pairing wine with food is classically classy.

About 15 percent drink wine with chips, nuts, crackers, cheese. Not meals, but food.

And 26 percent drink wine without any food at all.

For a significant portion of that 26 percent wine is replacement for liquor, cocktails, or draws of beer. Malbeck mauls martini; barbera bests Bud.

Understandably, wine industry is euphoric.

Statistics give wine makers even more reason to celebrate. People age 65-plus are most likely to drink wine with food (wisdom comes with age).

One in three “millennials” (roughly, those born after 1980) drink wine without food.

Studies of this group, the future of wine consumers, indicate a trend to “pre-gaming” in which they drink good wine at home before embarking on an evening on the town.

“We drink beer when we go out because we know the bars will have lousy wine,” one millennial reports. Winemakers love to hear this sort of thing, then urge bars to upgrade wine options. Could happen.


• Le Haut-Médoc d’Issan. Entry-level, left-bank Bordeaux; black and red fruits. $19

• Seabiscuit Chardonnay. Fermented in small oak; sur-lie aging (“on lees”—wine remains in contact with dead yeast to produce more flavor depth); complex fruit flavors abound; bright acidity; green apples and pears, nutty. California. $24

• Moet Imperial. Golden straw color, generous mouth, freshly crisp; over-hyped, yes, but still a world standard in Champagne. $45