Tag Archives: International Wine & Food Society

Steve Hipple, 64

December 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

At 64, Steve Hipple defies his age both in his youthful appearance and adventure-loving spirit. Hipple works out five days a week: 30 minutes of weight lifting followed by 30 minutes of aerobics. He also attends hot yoga class twice a week, sharing, “I find that yoga increases my strength, flexibility, and mobility. It also eases tension and tightness, increases my energy, and encourages an overall positive and
enlightened attitude.”

Hipple has a strong interest in wine and food and maintains a large cellar of the world’s finest wines. As chairman of the Festival and Events Committee for the International Wine & Food Society, he organizes wine festivals and cruises for members all around the world. Gourmet dining is one of his many interests. “I enjoy exotic foods matched perfectly with just the right wine.”

The empty-nester with two children says, “My wife, Patti, and I love adventure traveling, especially by motorcycle. We have explored many parts of the world including France and Spain, and have traveled from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the tip of South America. We crashed three times, outran robbers in Panama, and suffered extortion at the hands of Mexican police. In Venezuela, we swam at the bottom the tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, slept everywhere from five-star hotels to no-star hotels, and ate everything from Argentinean beef to guinea pig.”

Seeing the world from the seat of a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience, Hipple shared. “You can feel Mother Nature in all her guises: rain with slippery, muddy roads in the Amazon jungle…snow, ice, and sleet in Patagonia…and fierce winds and altitude sickness in the Andes Mountains of Peru.” Sight-seeing from a sedan is not for him. “Traveling by auto is like sitting in your 72-degree living room watching the Travel Channel in hi-definition.”

Hipple’s advice for living a healthy, active, long life: “Find what you like and do it. Enjoy life by staying fit, be sociable, and follow your passions.”

Wines for Holiday Fare

October 25, 2012 by

There are a wide variety of dishes prepared to celebrate the holiday season, and many of these reflect back to culture and ethnicity. However, I would suspect that the three classic dishes for holiday fare are turkey, ham, and crown roast of beef. The type of wines for each of these varies somewhat, depending on the accompaniments and method of preparation, but the core philosophy for wine-food pairings remains fairly straightforward. Let us discuss the wine matches for each of these three dishes.

Matching the weight of a dish with that of the wine is the starting point for marrying a wine with food. Turkey is a medium-weight dish that will work best with a medium-weight wine—red or white—depending on the ancillary ingredients. For example, if the bird is stuffed with a standard giblet-based dressing, you could choose either wine style. My choice would be a Pinot Noir or red Burgundy. On the other hand, if an oyster stuffing was used, a crisp white wine would be the better choice. The flavor in oysters (and most seafood) is enhanced by the crisp acidity found in many white wines. This is the reason that a squeeze of lemon is frequently served with seafood. With the oyster stuffing, my personal favorite wine would be a white Burgundy.

For ham, the same principle applies—match the weight of the food to that of the wine. There are two issues to consider with ham. First of all, it’s a salty food, and salty foods call for tart wines. Second, the sweetness of the dish must be considered. In a simple, unadorned presentation, ham has no sweetness. A Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc would both be good choices. However, if the ham is cured with maple sugar or is glazed with a sweet, fruity glaze, you must bring sweetness into the equation. My mother always basted her ham with a brown-sugar-fruity glaze, and prior to baking decorated it with fresh pineapple chunks and red cherries. With this combination, we have a sweet, salty product that calls for a sweet, tart wine. There is no better wine with these credentials than a quality German Riesling. My choice would be a Riesling Spätlese from the Mosel Valley.

This brings us to the stuffed crown roast of beef. The choice is simple here. This is a big, hearty dish that calls for a big, hearty wine. There is no white wine that can stand up to the majesty and gusto of a crown roast of beef. It doesn’t matter what dressing you stuff in the roast; the sheer volume of the dish dictates the wine style. A full-bodied Cabernet or high-quality red Bordeaux will make the perfect match.

I hope that you can see how the ancillary ingredients and method of preparation can tip your hand from one wine style to another. Remember, a correct wine-food pairing can elevate a dish from simple to sublime. Happy Holidays!

John Fischer is a member and past president of the International Wine & Food Society, Omaha Branch.