Master of Wine and Certified Wine Educator Tim Hanni has long called for an end to traditional notions of wine-and-food pairings. Now Hanni, along with wine industry veteran John Stallcup, are founding partners in the Napa Seasoning Company, which has recently released Vignon, a "flavor balancing seasoning" specifically designed to compliment wines.
Aimed at consumers looking for simple and easy solutions for cooking, the primary goal of the product is to help consumers enjoy their wines with whatever foods they choose. "This is a simple solution for wine and food matching," said Hanni. "This makes pairing wine with food successful every time."
As an example of how the product works, Hanni often challenges others to taste a red wine before and after eating an unseasoned portion of boiled or steamed asparagus. Usually, said Hanni, tasters find the wine to be bitter and strong after eating the asparagus. However, Vignon balances those flavors, resulting in rich, round, soft wines.
Hanni stressed that Vignon is not intended to become the dominant flavor in foods, but merely a "pretty transparent balancing blend" for a subtle effect. He suggested that most people would use Vignon as a part of the recipe rather than as a tableside additive. The seasoning itself is a combination of flavors, incorporating sea salt, onion, garlic, butter, lemon, parmesan cheese, soy, mushroom and other natural flavors into the mix.
Priced at $5.99 per bottle, the seasoning can currently be found in a variety of online and other retail outlets. Hanni also suggested that wineries would benefit through tasting room sales or packaged along with wine club shipments.
Vignon has already attracted some high-profile endorsees and partners. For example, prominent Sonoma County chef John Ash has signed on as a partner. Vignon is also being used in food and wine demonstrations at COPIA and the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena.
More information about Vignon can be found on the company website, www.napaseasoning.com
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