Today, we pay homage to the humble grape. This wondrous sphere shapes dinner parties, soirees, and get-togethers around the world blessing us with the finest balsamic vinegars and choicest wines available.
We chatted with Alanna and Ray, the founders of Terroir_Twosome on Instagram who have a passion for wine, great dishes, and making wine approachable to everyone. They are Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Certified (Ray Level 3 and Alanna Level 2). WSET provides many levels of certification from educating those who are in the wine and spirits industry or those, like Ray or Alanna, who want to become more knowledgeable about wine.
These married lovebirds met freshman year of college 17 years ago and have been tasting their way through life together ever since!
What prompted you to start your Instagram account?
A friend, who has many connections in the world of wine, encouraged us to share our love of wine and connect with others within the wine community on Instagram. It is definitely the social media platform to go-to for all things food and wine-related.
Do you plan your meals around the wine or vice versa?
We do both! When we are cooking our meals at home, we will usually decide what we are going to cook first followed by the wine selection. When we go out to eat at our favorite BYOB restaurants, we will choose the wine(s) we want to enjoy that night along with reviewing the restaurant’s current menu offering.
How is tasting wine similar to tasting balsamic vinegar?
Tasting wine is very similar to tasting balsamic vinegar. With wine, you always swirl your glass prior to giving a few sniffs. Swirling the glass allows oxygen into the wine giving it a chance to “breathe” which gives off aromas of the wine you are about to enjoy. After sniffing the wine, you take a tiny sip to coat the palate. Pause, and taste the wine again while letting it sit in your mouth to enjoy the flavors from the wine. This would also work for vinegar. Vinegar tasting can easily use the same methodology as wine. You would definitely want to take a tiny taste at first due to the high acidity in the vinegar and allow the vinegar flavors to become pronounced in the mouth.
What's your favorite A Taste of Olive product(s)? How do you like to use them?
We have many favorites! One product we use frequently is the Fig Balsamic Vinegar. This is such a great product that can add a kick to any dish in addition to using it on top of salads. We use this in place of vinegar on our hoagies, in our red sauces, like tomato or marinara, and on sauteed vegetables like broccoli rabe. We also enjoy the Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar that we use on top of salmon and in salads as well. Other favorites are the Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Shallot Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Have you noticed a difference in A Taste of Olive products compared to other oils and balsamics?
Absolutely! The biggest difference is the acidity. In A Taste of Olive products, the acidity is balanced and doesn’t overpower the flavors. Once we tried A Taste of Olive products, we only wanted to purchase our oils and vinegars from A Taste of Olive!
Why would you encourage others to shop with us?
You offer many wonderful products that one cannot simply buy at the local stores. A Taste of Olive takes great care of their customers, and it shows through their customer service both online and in the stores. Product offerings cannot be beat for quality and prices as well.
For someone who is a wine novice, how should they approach pairing wines with their food?
Definitely explore and have fun! A great book to purchase for any wine lover, both novice and expert, is Wine Folly. This is a fantastic user-friendly book that also helps with food pairing suggestions, especially if you are starting with the choice of wine first. It is key to do a little homework to ensure that the food and wine you will pair can go together. For example, we would not pair a Spanish Tempranillo (e.g. Rioja) with Fettuccini Alfredo. Tempranillo is a bigger and bolder wine that would pair better with Mexican food, spicy cuisine, and grilled/smoked meats because of the flavors and structure of the wine, such as body, acidity, etc.
Favorite local wineries?
PA: Grace Family Winery and Galen Glen Winery
NJ: William Heritage Winery, White Horse Winery, Unionville Vineyards, Beneduce Vineyards
Note: We have many more wineries to visit. Maybe we will see you there!
If we were to come over, what wine would you hand us?
We would definitely ask what are your favorite foods to eat first, because that will be the easiest way for us to find out what wine you may enjoy paired with your favorite dishes.
How can people expand their palate if they want to get into wines?
There are two ways: 1. There is nothing better than going to your local wine store and asking for recommendations on wines based on the flavors or dishes you enjoy. For example, if one were to say, “I would love to have a bowl of Fettuccine Alfredo; what should I pair with it?” We would recommend Ribolla Gialla, an Italian white wine. 2. Try, try, try, and try more wines! But definitely ask for assistance if you are new to the world of wine. We would not want you starting out with a California chardonnay if you didn’t enjoy the oak and buttery notes that are present in some California chardonnays. Most importantly, have fun!
Note: There are so many great wines available to consumers that anyone can find a wine that they will enjoy at any price point. We promise!