A really wise sommelier once told me that the best wine is the kind you like to drink. He went on to say there are plenty of qualities that wine connoisseurs will notice and remark, but at the end of the day you should drink what you like and throw any conventional “winning qualities” to the wind! So on that note, we’re doing a follow up to our Food and Booze pairing blog, this time we’re focusing on wine pairings and while we encourage you to try out the pairings we've picked, feel free to change things up and go with your gut (or you know, whatever you've got chilling in the fridge). Our wine pairing list is just a guide to get you started and maybe shine a light on a wine pairing you may have never thought of. Enjoy!
Starting off the great wine pairing list is matching up Chardonnay with a bacon pesto pizza. Chardonnay is a crisp dry wine, typically with pear, apple or citrus flavors. It’s the perfect companion to dense pizza like bacon-pesto. The pesto sauce is oily and the bacon is heavy, by pairing it with a light dry wine you balance out the flavor profile and have the chance to really appreciate the basil and garlic notes within the pesto. We recommend going with a chardonnay that hasn’t had extensive oak aging which can bring a more buttery flavor to the mix.
Next up on the wine pairing list is one of my favorite meals, baked salmon with a creamy dill sauce paired with a nice glass of Pinot Noir. Salmon has a strong flavor of its own, couple that with an extremely flavorful dill sauce and you’re talking two huge flavors already on your plate. To match that intensity we recommend Pinot Noir. Pairing the Pinot Noir which has a light but full bodied, complex red fruit, chocolate and even toasty flavor, with your baked salmon allows for each item to shine on its own and in conjunction with one another.
It wouldn’t be a complete list if we didn’t feature steak in the mix, so we suggest pairing a nice cut of New York strip, grilled with herb butter, with a Syrah or Shiraz (if it’s Australian). Syrah is an easy drinking wine, full of bright fruit flavors and tannins. It pairs especially well with red meats and our favorite pairing is with a juicy steak. The fruit and berry flavors from your Syrah will complement the herb butter richness from the strip steak and if you’re feeling so inclined, top your steak with caramelized onions to round out the flavors.
Another item this list would be incomplete without is barbecue, more specifically pulled pork drenched in a sticky-sweet barbeque sauce. A fan favorite, pulled pork should be tender and packed with flavor before the sauce even goes on. Once the sauce meets meat you’ve got a gold mind on hand and the only way to drink it down (wine-wise, that is) is with a cold glass of Rosé. Rosé is so versatile because it falls in between the extremes of red and white – less intense than red by more depth than a white, so it’s the perfect balance to a heaping plate of pulled pork.
Next up on the wine pairing list is one of my favorite starter items, pear, gorgonzola and walnut salad coupled with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most common red wines served, as it is an easy drinking wine, dense with dark fruit flavors. It pairs so well with gorgonzola which is salty with a bite, mellowed out with candied walnuts and slices of pear in a salad. We recommend topping your salad with a vinaigrette to balance out the salty/sweet ratio and if you’re feeling up to it, a second glass of wine!
Last but not least, you have to have some dessert with your meal and we recommend pairing a thick slice of delectably dense lemon cake with a glass of bubbly Asti Spumante. This delicious sparkling Italian white wine is the perfect balance to your heavy cake. Asti Spumante is lighter on alcohol content, so it’s a great way to end a meal and it’s sweet floral aroma pairs well with the citrus tones from the lemon cake. If you’re not a lemon fan, Asti Spumante has enough acidity to go well with just about any dessert.
There you have it, six great food and wine pairings to make for an excellent meal out or at your own dinner table. Let us know if you have your own favorite wine pairing to add to the list and stay tuned for our next pairing blog when we delve into the beer world. And don’t forget, the best wine pairing is the one you like, so have fun, taste away and pair as you please!