We went to an Indian restaurant recently. Indian food can be a challenge to pair with wine, so we asked our food server for a recommendation for the entrees we ordered. He suggested a couple of wines that he felt would pair well with our meals. The wines he recommended turned out to be good with our entrees. But it got me to thinking about great wine/food pairings. The first such pairing that comes to mind is Hearty Italian Meat Sauce (Sunday Gravy) we had with a 2005 Rosenblum Cellars Reserve Kick Ranch Syrah.
Italian Meat Sauce (Sunday Gravy) is an over the top tomato sauce that typically calls for six different types of meat and a day at the stove. I took some short cuts, and used 3 types of meats – baby back ribs, meatballs made with ground beef, pork, and veal, Italian sausage, prosciutto, and Pecorino Romano cheese. It turned out quite well, the ribs were tender, and the meatballs were the best I’ve ever had!
It paired perfectly with the Syrah – meaning the wine and food, each made the other taste better.
I think Syrah is a wonderful varietal for a couple reasons:
- Syrah is a pretty versatile wine that can be served with a variety of dishes. Of course it works well with all kinds of red meat from burgers to roasts, but I’ve found it pairs well with tomato based dishes including jambalaya and pizza.
- I think it tends to be a better value than the more prevalent reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, or Pinot Noir. Particularly the Syrahs (a.k.a Shiraz) from Australia.
Syrah is made in a variety of style depending on where the grapes are grown, weather, and vinification (turning grapes into wine, including fermentation, types of barrels used, etc.) Try a few to see what you like.
In terms of flavor/aroma profile of Syrah – look for black cherry, blackberry, plum, clove, licorice and smoked meat. Its aroma can range from violets to berries to chocolate and espresso. These aren’t all inclusive of course, but they’re a good place to start.
I like to share the flavor/aroma profile of varietals because rather than smelling a wine and trying to think of what it smells like, I like to run list of possibilities through my mind. I find it easier to hit on the aromas I’m searching for. For me, it’s the difference between essay vs. multiple choice, if you will.
- Note to Self: Syrah Can Be Stunning (goodwineunder20.blogspot.com)