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Wine and Food Pairing


Nishla
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One of my favorite things about food is pairing it with wine (and other drinks). I've tried searching for a catch-all food/wine thread and haven't found anything. If there's interest, I'd like to get something going similar to the other mega-threads on the site. Hopefully if we get a good following, people can search this topic when they're planning meals, or just get some interesting ideas if they're trying new wines or foods.

What I envision is that people will post their pairings--all of them. If you had a shiraz that went great with a pizza, let us know. If your fancy clam dish made a chardonnay taste horrible, warn me! Even if your post is as simple as "I had Wine A with Food B and it was good", please contribute.

I'll get started:

Tonight we had cranberry-orange pork sausage, pan seared then simmered in spicy marinara.

There were a lot of flavors going on, so I had a hard time deciding on a wine. I picked d'Arenberg's Galvo Garage 2001, which is a blend of cabernet, merlot and cabernet franc that we got in the bin ends for ~$30. By itself, the wine has dark berry flavors, with decent earthy notes...ripe, but not jammy. The cranberry and orange flavors from the sausage really stood out, but I think the wine was a bit too earthy for a great pairing.

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Just wanted to let you you know that I saw this topic and I think it's a great idea. I'll be ready to contribute soon. Lately, I've been getting over some difficult times, resulting in physical illness, but now my appetite for food and wine (and life in general!) is returning. :smile: I'll post here when I either search out and find a great pairing, or stumble across one. Thanks for starting this.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Susan, I'm so sorry to hear you've been having such a rough time lately. I really look forward to your input here, hopefully sooner than later :smile:

In the meantime, I had a nice pairing last night, made even better because it was a cheap, easy dinner and an inexpensive everyday wine:

Dr. Loosen "L" Riesling 2005 (~$12, I think) with spicy sesame noodles.

The wine is slightly sweet, with a lot of citrus acidity to back it up. It's great with asian flavors and spicy food. The sweetness tamed the spiciness a bit, but the wine is simple enough to not interfere with the other flavors in the noodles. The acid also helps the noodles not seem too oily.

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We had another nice pairing tonight:

2003 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel (on sale for $15) with short ribs. The ribs were cooked with spices like cinnamon, clove and star anise, which went great with the spiciness of the wine. The fruit and oak in the zinfandel also stood up really well to the fatty cut of meat.

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I don't have much detail in my memory about the flavors, but I thought this pairing was a surprise worthy of note. One afternoon recently I went to a restaurant that has fairly good wine and beer selections, and they make recommendations for pairings. I ordered a cup of the shrimp bisque which is rich and creamy and slightly spicy. I didn't have my brain in gear to make my own choice of what wine to drink, so I asked for the waiter's recommendation, and when he suggested a blend of pinot grigio and chardonnay, I really wondered. I could imagine chardonnay, but dry pinot grigio threw me. It matched up well!

I really like the Seghesio Zinfandels I've had. That pairing sounds good.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Pinot grigio/chadonnay and shrimp bisque does sound interesting.

We also had a new pairing last night at Marco, a small restaurant in Boston's North End:

Isola dei Nuraghi Costera 2004, from Sardinia. 100% cannonau grape (which I had never heard of, and is apparently the local form of Grenache). The wine was pretty full-bodied, with dark berry fruit and some earthy/dried herb flavors. It went very well with a spicy sausage/broccoli rabe pasta, as well as a grilled meat plate (flank steak, sausage and balsamic chicken). It kind of overwhelmed our appetizer of arancini, fried mozzerella and fried salmon fritters.

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I have an interesting one this time...at least I think it's interesting since I learned something.

The wine: 2004 Falesco Est! Est! Est! di Montefiascone ($11). This is a light, crisp Italian white, with citrus and mineral flavors. I'd had it before with light fish dishes and salads with good success.

The food:

Attempt 1--Salad of arugula, red peppers, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing. This pairing was absolutely horrible...one of the worst mistakes I've made. The honey in the dressing made the wine taste sour instead of pleasantly acidic, and the wine made the arugula intensely bitter. Gak :wacko:

Attempt 2--A few days later, I had the rest of the bottle with a fennel salad simply dressed with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and shaved parmesan. This time, the lemon and wine got along nicely, and worked together to bring out the sweetness of the fennel. The wine also tasted like it's supposed to, instead of like sour water. Yum :smile:

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A couple more from the past week:

1. Olive oil-poached wild salmon with tomato cucumber salad, served with the E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose 2003. Not a spectacular pairing, but certainly servicable. The light berry flavors from the rose were good with the freshness of the salad, and the salmon definitely remained the highlight.

2. Buttercup squash/sausage/goat cheese pizza with Neyers Merlot Napa Valley 2000. This was another decent but not great pairing. The plummy fruit of the merlot balanced the sweetness of the squash and the meatiness of the sausage. This particular wine was ridiculously high in alcohol (14.7% :shock: ), so I'd definitely pick something a bit more subtle next time.

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Great idea for a thread! I'm surprised you're practically the only person posting to it so far, so I'll add one. A couple weeks ago I made a pork chop dish with smoked paprika, sherry vinegar, tomatoes, potatoes and whole peeled shallots. At my wine seller's recommendation I bought a Porteguese wine to go with: Escanção Dão Reserva 2001.

Made from the same grapes as port, this Portuguese red wine opens with lots of the fruit flavors you get from a ruby port. But instead of turning sweet and alcoholic on the finish, it's fully dry, with a great acid backbone, making it a great food wine. It matched the big flavors of the pork blow for blow, without overwhelming them. It was just as good the second night with ratatouille and lamb. And at $10 a bottle, it's an absolute bargain! I'll definitely be buying a few bottles to have on hand - I think it's one of those wines that will go with nearly everything.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Recently I purchased a glass of Telmo Rodregiuz Almuvedre Monastrell 2004 whilst at a wine bar along with some tapas (sardines with shaved fennel and something else that I cannot quite remember, along with frites served with a perfect garlicky mayonnaise). The tapas was good, but the Monastrell blew my mind. For me, it was the perfect 'middle of the afternoon/day not too hot/day not too cold' red wine.

The next week I sourced some bottles of said wine on the net, as it's quite a difficult grape variety to find in Melbourne (we who prefer our often way too large Aussie reds) and purchased a case at A$20 a bottle (a bargain, the wine is simply fantastic for a softer red)

A couple of nights later, when I had the opportunity to open a bottle, I made the mistake of drinking this with a wonderful paella which I had made. Maybe my paella was too spicey (I do tend to go overboard with the spices which I love) as it really did seem to overpower the red. The next night I finished the rest of the bottle with a more simple chicken dish, can't remember what was with the chicken.

This was much more appropriate, and the soft features of the monastrell shone through a little better.

I'm quite new to this grape variety and still have a case at home. Is there anyone out there who has a thing for monastrell who could perhaps point me in the right direction of what to eat with it. Any help appreciated.

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This is a great idea for a thread. I'll be sure to add any good pairings I come across.

Do people think it would be a good idea to start each post with one line for the wine and one line with a brief description of the dish?

These two lines could then be followed by any further description and discussion.

I suggest it because I found myself searching a bit in each post to determine the wine/food pairing combination.

Example for tammylc's post:

Escanção Dão Reserva 2001.

Pork chop dish with smoked paprika, sherry vinegar, tomatoes, potatoes and whole peeled shallots

Made from the same grapes as port, ...

(Thanks for mentioning that Dao wine, tammylc. I first tasted one of these this summer also thought it was quite good. I need to keep an eye out and buy some. Thanks for your specific rec.)

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Ludja, great suggestion. I'm in the middle of cooking dinner right now, so hopefully I'll have something good to post later :smile:

katmandude, I've generally found spicy food and reds to be terrible pairings (with a few exceptions). I wonder if that wine would work with a simply prepared steak, maybe grilled or pan seared with a sauce using the wine--something meaty to play off the fruit flavors. Maybe a pork chop would work too.

I'm really glad you guys are interested in this topic!

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Wines:

2001 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Herrenweg de Turckheim Pinot Gris (~$20 in bin ends)

2005 Dr. Loosen "L" Riesling

Food:

Curried buttercup squash/cauliflower soup with ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, tumeric and yogurt, topped with shrimp.

The curry flavor in this soup was fairly mild, but the spices were definitely noticable, and the yogurt added some nice tanginess. The Pinot Gris was really good on its own, with mineral, honey, petrol and peach flavors. The wine and soup together were okay, but neither made the other better, so I figured I'd save the rest of the wine for tomorrow.

I remembered that I had an opened bottle of the Dr. Loosen from the other day, so I gave it a try. This wine is much less complex than the Pinot Gris, and has more pronounced citrus notes. This was really great with the curry spices, and brought out the sweetness of the squash.

I've noticed that in many cases, a wine with a lot of complexity tends to lose something when paired with food. So far my favorite wines for food pairing are more simple, which is fine with me since they're usually cheaper :smile: The Dr. Loosen is one of my all time favorites.

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A lovely mushroom ravioli with a creamy mushroom sauce, redolent with herbs and a touch of all our leftover cheeses (small bits of Compte, Reggiano, Parrano, and who knows what else...) paired with a 2003 Gundlach Bundschu Rhinefarm Pinot Noir.

Perfect - the wine is slightly dry with cherries, herbs, and great structure. The mushroom sauce and ravioli were amazing.

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Ludja, great suggestion. I'm in the middle of cooking dinner right now, so hopefully I'll have something good to post later  :smile:

katmandude, I've generally found spicy food and reds to be terrible pairings (with a few exceptions). I wonder if that wine would work with a simply prepared steak, maybe grilled or pan seared with a sauce using the wine--something meaty to play off the fruit flavors. Maybe a pork chop would work too.

I'm really glad you guys are interested in this topic!

Thanks Nishla. I'll certainly consider that next time I reach for the Monastrall.

lovin' the thread....

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Last night we cooked a multi-course dinner, described here.

Wine 1: 2005 Burgans Albarino, Rais Baixas

Food:

Tomato stuffed with shrimp, chorizo and garlic.

Cod with fennel and watercress salad, bacon orange vinaigrette.

The albarino was good with the stuffed tomato, and great with the cod. It really brought out the orange flavor of the vinaigrette. By itself, the wine was rich and crisp at the same time, with citrus and floral notes.

Wine 2: 2004 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara

Food: Roast duck with parsnip puree and raspberry sauce.

I thought the raspberries might not work with the wine, but this pairing was really good. There was enough fruit in the wine with go with the sauce, and the earthiness went great with the duck and parsnips.

Wine 3: 2004 ia garnacha, Spain

Food: Roast pork with sweet potato, leeks and apple cider reduction.

This pairing was good, but the sweet potato and apple cider were a bit too sweet to make this a great match. The wine had dark berry and spice flavors.

Wine 4: 2004 Errazuriz late harvest sauvignon blanc, Chile

Food: Red wine poached pears, ginger snaps

This wine was really good...distinctly sauvignon blanc flavors of passion fruit and herbs, but sweet. It was perfect with the fruit dessert and spices from the cookies.

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Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the blind date on which I met my wife, so I pulled one of my better bottles from the cellar, a spectacular 1992 Beringer Private Reserve Cab. I paired it with the simplest and best thing for a big red: grilled beef steak, specifically a bone-in top sirloin that was on sale at the market for $4.77 a pound, if you can believe that, and it was really very good. Also had grilled asparagus and a baked yam.

My preference when pairing food with good wine is to keep flavors simple, not a lot of spice or herbs, no cloying sauces, especially when the wine is intended to be the star of the show, as it was last night.

Douglas Collins

Hermosa Beach, California

Un dîner sans vin est comme un jour sans soleil.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My favourite recent pairing was a BC wine with local halibut - Wild Goose Autumn Gold paired with a halibut in Panang Curry. It was a magical combination of a sweet aromatic white with the spicy thai cusine. I tried to post a picture for everyone but I couldn't figure out how. :hmmm:

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  • 1 month later...
Masi: Campolongo de Torbi 1999 Amarone

Help! don't know what to pair it with!

Masi Mazzano 1999 Amarone

same problem...any suggestions welcome!

I forgot about this thread! Thanks for bringing it back.

I went to an Amarone wine tasting dinner once, and I remember having steak with thyme-red wine sauce, sauteed mushrooms on toasts, and duck (confit maybe?). So, I think generally earthy flavors and rich meats were suggested. Sorry I can't remember more specifics.

We've been having a lot of cocktails lately instead of wine, and recently our wine/food pairings have been very blah.

Tonight, though, we had success! Penne with creamy tomato sauce and sausage, paired with the 2004 Falesco Vitiano from Umbria. The wine has sweet, dark berry flavors, with some toasty notes. It really brought out the flavors in the sausage, and had enough acidity to work with the tomato.

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With an 18 month Comté Marcel Petite bought from the tiny shop at the Essex street market (before they folded), a Chardonnay fron Jean Bourdy in Jura.

With a slow-cooked artic char, a Muscadet (melon de Bourgogne) from Hautes-Noelles, a terrific deal for only $11 at BJ in NYC.

I read in an earlier post about a 1982 La Lagune served with cheese, what a waste...should have been served with its natural pairing: lamb. One type of wine that doesn't pair very well in general with cheese is red Bordeaux.

Edited by froggio (log)
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