All-American Wine Pairing Guide for Being Thankful #SundaySupper

For this week’s #SundaySupper we celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah with a bounty of tasty dishes for which to be thankful. And this year also presents a rare opportunity to be thankful, because it‚Äôs the first time since 1888 that any of the eight days in the Jewish celebration of lights has fallen on the same day as the holiday marking the Pilgrims‚Äô 1621 first harvest in the New World. ¬†And “Thanksgivukkah”, as some are calling it, won’t happen again until 2070!

Trying to figure out what wine to pair with the Thanksgiving turkey is easy Рjust about any wine with enough weight will suffice.  The challenge is what wine(s) to pair with other diverse palate of sweet, tart and savory flavors, textures, and aromas that present themselves on Thanksgiving.

I like to keep it simple, drink whatever make you and your guests happy. ¬†But safe bets for red wines are wines that have ample fruit, and are not too oaky, or high in alcohol such as¬†Pinot Noir, wines made from¬†Rhone grapes such as¬†Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, or a blend,¬†and Zinfandel.¬†For white wine, go with¬†aromatic, fresh, (well-balanced acidity) wines like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, or¬†Gew√ľrztraminer.¬†¬†And last, but not least, are my secret weapons for holiday wine and food pairings – Sparkling wine and Ros√©. ¬†Sparkling wines bring a celebratory feel and remarkable food-pairing versatility to the holiday table. ¬†Also consider Ros√© for its underrated versatility at the holiday table.

All-American Wine Pairing Guide For Being Thankful #SundaySupper

My Thanksgiving “wine-up” L-R; 2003 Roederer L’Ermitage Brut, 2012 Loring Wine Company Central Coast Pinot Noir, 2012 Donkey & Goat Stonecrusher Roussanne, and 2011 Yorkville Cellars Late Harvest Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc

Since Thanksgiving is the most American of holiday, I’ve chosen all American wines. ¬†It’s a great time to buy American wines, because in my view, they are better than they’ve ever been!

Here are 11 wines you’ll be thankful for when it comes to wine and food pairing for your holiday celebrations:

Sparkling

  • Roederer Estate Brut – a delicious blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir that’s on the fruitier side of brut that is crisp and elegant with pear, apple, cinnamon, and hazelnut character. ¬†You might also consider a Ros√© sparkling wine!

Reds

  • 2011 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir¬† – a sleek wine with wild berry, cherry, and savory aromatics and flavors.¬†
  • 2011 Owen Roe Sinister Hand – a classic Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from Washington State with a black cherry, cranberry, clove character, and an earthy undertone
  • 2011 Ridge Lytton Springs¬† – Blend of (mostly) Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignan that is well-balanced ¬†and very food friendly with red¬†fruit, sweet spice and bramble aromas; with ample black cherry, red currant, and spice flavors with a long lip-smacking finish.¬†

White

  • 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle-Dr. Loosen Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica¬†-¬†It‚Äôs off-dry ¬†with vibrant acidity and a beautiful white peach, grapefruit and mineral character. ¬†This one will work well with appetizers and the main course.
  • 2012 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier¬†- This is a wonderful blend of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier that is low alcohol (12%) with an aromatic, juicy grapefruit, melon, passionfruit, and baked¬†stone fruit character with lively acidity that make it a versatile food pairing partner.
  • 2012 Ferrari-Carano Sonoma County Fum√© Blanc¬†- Don’t let the¬†Fum√© Blanc moniker food you. ¬†That’s all about marketing. ¬†It’s Sauvignon Blanc, and it has a delicious candied grapefruit, lemon, herbal and mineral laced character. ¬†It’ll pair well with herb stuffing, both white and dark meat, and much more.

Other

  • 2012 Donkey & Goat Stone Crusher El Dorado Roussannethis is unique “orange” wine, meaning¬†white wine made applying the primary red wine technique of letting the wine soak on the grapes skins – in this case for 15 days – to add a large dose of tannins. ¬†The result is a wine that is very versatile at the table. ¬†It has a great mouthfeel with a spiced orange peel, lanolin, and herbal character. ¬†Let it breathe a bit before serving and you’ll be amply rewarded
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Ros√© Patelin de Tablas Paso Robles¬†-¬†a charming Ros√© that is incredibly flexible partner at the table. ¬†It a blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise with delightful¬†strawberry, watermelon, spice and mineral flavors. It has enough weight to stand up to a holiday meal without being heavy

Dessert:

  • 2008 Barra Bella Dolce Petite Sirah Dessert Wine¬†-¬†which is a Port-style wine made from Petite Sirah with fresh blueberry, mocha, and ground coffee aromas, and sweet spicy dark fruit flavors that will complement chocolate, nut-based, coffee and caramel desserts.
  • 2011 Navarro Late Harvest Cluster Select Riesling¬†-¬†¬†It has a great¬†apricot, pear, pineapple, honey and baking spice character, with a long finish. And its crisp acidity keeps from being cloying. Pair with tree and stone-fruit-based desserts, creamy and custard desserts.

For your Hanukkah celebration - Check out both Hagafen and Baron Herzog for their selection of Kosher wines.  

Check out this¬†week’s delectable dishes served up by our ever thankful #SundaySupper team!

FIRST COURSE / APPETIZERS

SAVORY BREADS + STUFFING

MAIN DISHES

SIDE DISHES

DESSERTS + SWEET BREADS

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

The Best Wines For Fall Foods #SundaySupper

It’s official! Today is the first day of the Fall season. ¬†Fall has always been bittersweet for me. I’m definitely a Summer person. ¬†I adore the dry, warm weather and the longer days.

But Fall is my second favorite season for two reasons. First, Indian Summer in California is quite nice (although it rained in the Bay Area yesterday).  The second reason is the annual grape harvest.

Vineyard in Germany_Autumn colors

Image courtesy of love2mags.blogspot.com

It’s gorgeous in wine country in the fall. The verdant vineyards are reaching maturity, and are it’s a time ripe with vinous possibilities. ¬†I love walking into a winery and seeing the harvest under way – grapes being ¬†destemmed and crushed, the smell of fermentation. ¬†And the wine events?! It’s definitely the best time of year for wine events! ¬†Fall is not so bad after all!

The change of season also signals a change in our tastes in wine. ¬†As we start to crave more substantial foods, we also start to want more substantial wines too. ¬†More oft than not, ¬†our tastes change from lighter summer-time whites, ros√©, and perhaps a few select reds to more full bodied white, ros√©, red wines. And that makes sense to me because one of the key principles of food and wine pairing is to match the “weight” of the food to the “weight” of the wine.

Check out this week’s fabulous fall fare put together by the #SundaySupper team and¬†my wine pairing recommendations.

Amazing Breakfasts/Brunches

Pair these dishes with the¬†2011 Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato. ¬†It’s a blend of Gordo Muscat and Black Muscat from the Yarra Valley in Australia. ¬†It’s only 5.5% alcohol and it has a red berry, strawberry, peach, and zesty citrus character. ¬†It’s a fun and fizzy quaff that is moderately sweet but not cloying.

Outstanding Soups, Starters, Sides, and Main Dishes:

Pair these dishes with a white Rhone blend. One of my favorites is the 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc. It’s a blend of¬†Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne with a mouth-filling peach, citrus, and mineral character.¬†

Pair these dishes with the 2012 Borra Intuition. ¬†It’s an unusual blend of Kerner, Gew√ľrztraminer, and Riesling. It’s medium-bodied with a rich mouthfeel, and refreshing peach, apricot and spice flavors. ¬†

Pair these dishes with Pinot Noir.  Look for the 2011 Hahn Winery California Pinot Noir. It has wonderful mixed berry, lavender, and spice aromatics, that follow onto the palate.

Pair these dishes with Chianti, the classic Italian red wine made from Sangiovese. ¬†And one of the world’s great gifts to the table. Look for the 2011 Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti. It‚Äôs a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo with a beautiful black cherry, spice, and licorice character with a kiss of rusticity.

Pair with these dishes with a Syrah.  I like the 2011 Andrew Murray Vineyards Tous Les Jours Syrah. This damn tasty wine is full-bodied, with wonderful acidity, and a dark fruit, spice, and slight earthy character.  

Decadent Desserts:

Pair these with a Cadillac, named for a little known¬†village just south of Bordeaux that produces wonderful sweet¬†botrytized¬†white wines. It‚Äôs never reached the lofty status of¬†Sauternes, just across the river. ¬†The wines are typically made from Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes. Look for the¬†2009 Chateau Suau, Cadillac. ¬†It a blend of 40% Sauvignon ‚Äď 60% Semillon with a¬†fruity, complex, and sweet peach and honey character with good acidity.¬†

Pair these with a Cream Sherry. ¬†Ok, so you might be asking..”um, it’s that the stuff my Grandmother used to drink? ¬†Well, yes and no. ¬†This is the sweetened inferior juice shipped to export markets. ¬†Look for the Emilio Hidalgo “Morenita” Cream Sherry. ¬†It’s a great¬†example of the real deal from Jerez, Spain. ¬†It has a wonderful sweet date, mocha spiced ginger, candied orange peel character that is delicately sweet with well-embedded acidity. Yummy stuff! ¬†

Tasty Drinks:

Don’t forget to join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EDT. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here ? Sunday Supper Movement.

Seafood Gumbo and Wine Pairings for Soul Warming #SundaySupper

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is all about soul warming foods. ¬†You know, those¬†soups, chili, stews, and other soul warming treat we seek when the weather turns cold.

When I first saw the theme, my first thought was of “Soul Food”. I’d ¬†bet that “Soul food” is one of those phrases that if you ask 10 people what it means, you’d get 10 different answers! ¬†Soul Warming foods and Soul food are one in the same to me, and when I think of Soul food, the first dish that comes to mind is Gumbo! ¬†We have a tradition in our family of making Gumbo each New Year’s day, but it’s ¬†a soul-satisfying meal whenever there’s a chill in the air.

Since I’m a Wino with latent foodie tendencies, I decided let my foodie nature rise up, and do a dish, and wine pairings this week!

Here’s my Seafood Gumbo (we …OK make that “I”, call it “Yumbo” – lame right?..but I like it!)

Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo

For me, there are two things you’ve got to get right to make a gumbo – the “roux” (I prefer mine to be dark brownish), and you must have stock that is chock full of flavors. ¬†Sure you could take a short-cut, and go with store-bought (I’ve done that for a ¬†” quick and dirty” version of this dish, but the flavors are not as complex and intense for me. If you get those couple of things “right”, it’s clear sailing thereafter!

Seafood Gumbo and Wine Pairings for Soul Warming #SundaySupper
Author: 
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: Cajun
Serves: 10-12
 
Adapted from Emeril’s Classic Seafood Gumbo recipe
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups finely chopped onions
  • ¾ cup finely chopped green bell peppers
  • ¾ cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • One 12-ounce bottle amber beer
  • 6 cups Shrimp and Crab Stock
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 small Dungeness crabs
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril’s Original Essence
  • 2 cups shucked oysters with their liquor
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup chopped tender green onion tops
Instructions
  1. Follow directions for cleaning and prepping crab to be cooked (click here, except remove crab legs and claws. Follow directions for Shrimp and Crab stock, except add crab shell and crab butter (roe) along with shrimp.
  2. Place an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, and add the oil. Allow the oil to heat for about 5 minutes, then add the flour to the pot. Stir the oil and flour together with a wooden spoon to form a roux. Continue to stir the roux for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the color of milk chocolate. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery to the roux and stir to blend. Stir the vegetables for 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds before adding the beer and Shrimp and Crab Stock to the pot. Season the gumbo with the thyme, bay leaves, crabs legs, Worcestershire, salt, and cayenne. Bring the gumbo to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer the gumbo for 1 hour, skimming the foam and any oil that rises to the surface.
  3. Season both the shrimp with 1½ teaspoons Essence. Stir the shrimp into the gumbo and cook for 2 minutes. Add the oysters to the pot and cook, stirring often, for an additional 5 minutes. Taste the gumbo and season if necessary.
  4. Garnish with the parsley and green onions and serve in shallow bowls over white rice.
Notes
Recommended Wine Pairings РI paired this with the Navarro Vineyards Edelzwicker, a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris. It would also pair well with Viognier, a dry Rosé, or White Zinfandel. If you elect to go with a less spicy version try a Pinot Noir!

 

Take a look at the culinary cornucopia the #SundaySupper team has put together for this week’s gathering around the #SundaySupper table! My¬†recommended wine pairings (click on the name of the wine to find out where to purchase) are italicized.

Main Entrees: 

Pair these main dishes with Pinot Noir. ¬†Look for the 2010 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir. It’s a silky smooth Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with a core of raspberry ¬†and spice aromas and flavors, with caramel edge. Why it works:¬†Pinot goes with just about everything. ¬†It’s a white wine, in red wine clothing, which makes it incredibly flexible with dishes and methods of prep. ¬†Pinot is sublime with poultry, and complements foods that are slow roasted, or braised.

I recommend a Chardonnay for these dishes. ¬†Look for the 2009 MacMurray Ranch Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. It’s a medium-full bodied Chardonnay that’s undergone malolactic fermentation, that’s moderately oaked. ¬†The oak aging brings vanilla and caramel notes to the party to go along with its ripe apple, tropical fruit and lemon cream character. ¬†Why it works:¬†The texture, and weight of wine complement the dish, and it has enough¬†acidity¬†to “cut” the dish a bit and prepare the palate for the next mouthwatering bite.

Pair this dish with a Tempranillo from Rioja Spain. ¬†I really like the 2007 Vi√Īa Eguia Reserva. It’s shows great balance between oak and fruit with a cherry, dried herb, spice, leather and vanilla character. ¬†Why it works: Tempranillo is an underrated food pairing partner. ¬†It’s tends to be a light-medium bodied earthy red wine. It’s between a Pinot Noir and Cab. ¬†It’s fruity with moderate tannins, and acidity making it a good fit for somewhat spicy fare like Spanish, Mexican and similarly spiced fare. ¬†

Pair this classic Italian dish with Sangiovese. ¬†Try the 2010 La Mozza I Perazzi Morellino di Scansano. It’s a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 5% Syrah, 5% Alicante, plus a couple of other indigenous Italian grape varieties from Tuscany ¬†It shows juicy red and black berries, with some licorice and spice notes supported by soft dusty tannins. ¬†Why it works: The food of a place and the wine of a place is always a good place to start when pairing wine and food. ¬†On top of that, its high acidity, together with its medium-bodied character enable it to stand up to more substantial dishes. ¬†Sangiovese is a wine that loves dished prepared with fresh herbs, rich thick soups, mushrooms and tomato based dishes

Pair this dish with an Edelzwicker, a blend of the “noble” Alsatian varietals of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris. ¬†Look for the 2011 Navarro Vineyards Edelzwicker. It’s an aromatic white wine with a stone fruit, spice, and hint of citrus character. Why it works: ¬†The spicy character of the wine, along with some sweetness (spicy likes sweet) and acidity make a great match!

Chili/Stews:

Pair these hearty dishes with Cabernet Sauvignon. ¬†One of my favorites is the 2010 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon “H3″ ¬†It’s from Washington State, and is a bold wine that delivers delightful floral, dark fruit, cocoa aromas followed by plum, black cherry, vanilla and cocoa flavors. Why it works: Cab works well with red meats, dishes with earthy, herbal elements. ¬†This youthful wine has plenty of fruit which make it a nice complement to longer cooked meats and stews.

Try these dishes these with a Cru Beaujolais¬†(not to be confused with Beaujolais Nouveau hitting the store shelfs soon), a wine from France made from the Gamay grape. Look for the 2010 Georges DebŇďuf Moulin-√†-Vent with a wild red fruits, and white pepper character that a juicy easy drinker. ¬†Why it works: Like Pinot Noir, the Gamay grape is naturally high in acidity, and is light-medium bodied with low tannins. It pair well with dishes with veggies,earthy flavors. Great picnic wine too! Er..but I digress;-)

Syrah is a good match for these hearty flavorful dishes. ¬†I like the 2009 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Barossa Shiraz¬†from Australia. It’s has a fruity core of black cherries, plums, baking spices, and vanilla that balanced by some oak. ¬†Why it works: Syrah is an ample full-bodied wine that likes thicker, fuller dishes like slow braises, stews (especially tomato-based), and one-dish meals.

Pair these dishes with the Sangiovese noted above:
Pair these dishes with the Pinot Noir noted above:
Pair this dishes with the Tempranillo from Rioja noted above:

Soups:

Pair these soul-warming soups with a¬†Sauvignon¬†Blanc from the Pouilly-Fum√© region of the Loire Valley in France. Look for the 2011 Patient Cottat “Le Grand Caillou” Sauvignon Blanc. ¬†It has a lovely tropical fruit, citrus, spice and mineral character with a tangy acidity.¬†¬†Why it works: Sauvignon Blanc with its “green” (gooseberries, lime, green olive, papaya character and a mineral component attributable to the terroir of the Loire Valley make this a good match for vegetarian soups, spicy (hot) fare, dishes with acidic ingredients. ¬†It’s a very versatile food pairing partner in that it work nicely as a complement or a contrast.

Pair these satisfying soups with Pinot Gris.  I recommend the 2011 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection from Oregon. It has juicy lemon-lime, stone-fruit, green apple, pineapple and spice character.  Why it works: Pinot Gris likes ethic foods, especially coconut-milk based curries. 

Pair the rest of the soups with the aforementioned wines as noted in parentheses:

Desserts/Beverages:

Pair this¬†Hot Fudge Pudding Cake (That Skinny Chick Can Bake)¬†with the Terra d’Oro Zinfandel “Port”, a dessert wine made for chocolate! I like the what the Wine Enthusiast says about it…”The first duty of a Port-style wine is to be¬†dazzlingly rich and sweet yet balanced in¬†acidity, and this bottling is all that. Waves of¬†blackberry jam, cassis and dark chocolate¬†are brightened with zesty acidity

  • White Hot Chocolate with Orange ‚ÄstGirliChef

Join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper.  And join us at 7pm EST, for our live weekly #SundaySupper chat.   All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.

And be sure to check out the #SundaySupper Pinterest board. We’d love to feature your Sunday Supper Soul Warming Recipes and share them with all of our followers.

Five Most Food Friendly Wines For #SundaySupper

When I saw the theme for this week’s #SundaySupper -¬†Dishes in 5 Ingredients or Less – my first thought was “Wow, that’s going to be a challenge”, ¬†because I’ve seen the creativity and passion my ¬†BFFs (Best Foodie Friends;-) bring to the #SundaySupper table. Then I thought, why not try to pair the undoubtedly diverse menu with only 5 five wines? ¬†As I’m sure it was a challenge to use only 5 ingredients and still get great flavor, it’s challenge for me to limit myself to a list of the 5 most food friendly wines.¬†Ah, but in challenge lies opportunity!

As I contemplated the five most food friendly wines, I kept coming back to wines that are flexible in structure and in style. By structure, I mean all the wines have a great backbone of acidity, a core of succulent fruit, lower alcohol, and modest or no tannins.  What I mean by style is that the grape produces wines in a wide range of styles from light to full-bodied.  That diversity of style makes these wines versatile pairing partners with a broad range of foods.

Sparkling Wines

Champagne and other sparkling wines like Cava, and Prosecco have an incredible affinity for a wide range of foods. ¬†Aside from the aforementioned high acidity and lower alcohol, there’s the bubbly effervescence! ¬†I always have a chilled bottle of bubbly on hand! ¬†Unfortunately, most folks only drink bubbly when it’s a special¬†occasion¬†or as a cocktail without food. ¬†But now you know better. Right?!

Sparkling wines work especially well:

  • To accompany raw fish (sushi, sashimi, oysters, etc.),
  • Tart foods: citrus, vinegars, pomegranate, dill, capers, and tomatoes
  • As a counterpoint for foods that are salty, moderately spicy, rich and creamy, or deep-fried. (For example, a classic pairing is buttered popcorn with sparkling wine)
  • With many Latin dishes (empanadas ceviche and mole), Asian cuisines (Tempura, gyoza, Chinese deep-fried dishes, fish cakes, Indian Samosas, etc.), Middle Eastern dishes (hummus, baba ghanoush)
  • To accompany dishes that are challenging to pair with other wines like egg dishes and soups.
  • To pair with dishes that are inherently toasty like canapes¬†or puff-pastry dishes.

Riesling

Riesling is widely regarded as the most food friendly white wine. ¬†It’s among the most versatile wines because it’s made in a wide range of sweetness, from bone-dry to very sweet dessert style wines.

Riesling goes well:

  • Almost any fatty poultry like goose, duck and other gamy birds.
  • Rich, salty meats such as ham, sausages, and charcuterie. LIkewise for mildly salty cheeses such as Gorgonzola.
  • Sweet shellfish such as crab, lobster, and prawns.
  • Dishes seasoned with exotic spices, such as curries, cardamom, clove, mace, star anise, etc.
  • Quiche and other egg-based dishes.

Sauvignon Blanc

You know how a squeeze of lemon seems to enhance almost anything? ¬†I think of Sauvignon Blanc as a vinous equivalent. ¬†It can be a polarizing wine. It’s a bit like cilantro – people tend to either love it or hate it. ¬†But since this a wine that is made in a diverse range of style, I believe there is something for virtually everyone. ¬†It’s a matter of finding the style that suites you!

Sauvignon Blanc goes well:

  • With dishes emphasizing fresh herbs, or dressed with a ¬†vinaigrette dressing.
  • With dishes prepared with a variety of cooking methods, from low-impact such as steamy to high-impact such as smoking, and grilling.
  • With most vegetarian soups.
  • As a counterbalance to rich dishes made with light-cream or butter-based¬†sauces.
  • With acidic or sharp ingredients such as citrus, dairy (yogurt, sour cream,etc) dill, capers, olives, and tomatoes.
  • With spicy hot dishes – the acidity and generally lower alcohol level refreshes the palate.
  • With a wide variety of cheeses. Goat cheese is the classic pairing, but try it with Brie, Gruyere,¬†Neufchatel, or sharp cheddar.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is known as the Chef’s wine ¬†because its affinity for such a broad range of foods. It’s also the wine most often described in sensual terms! Depending on the vintner’s choices, it can be delicate and light-bodied, or bold and full-bodied!

Pinot Noir pairs well with:

  • Damn near everything (which is why it’s often the first choice for a food-a-palooza like Thanksgiving) because it’s so flexible.
  • Dishes that complement its inherently spicy flavors such as dishes spiced with coriander, cumin,¬†cinnamon, or ginger.
  • With foods that are smoked, lightly charred, or grilled, especially if you’re serving one with a more oak-driven style.
  • Many fish – especially Salmon, tuna or swordfish.
  • With veggies (especially mushrooms) and dishes with earthier flavors such as cooked beans, greens, lentils, or dishes seasoned with Dijon mustard.
  • A multitude of Asian cuisines – Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean foods. ¬†That’s because these cuisines often have sweet-salt flavor combinations with which Pinot Noir plays well.

Sangiovese

Sangiovese is produced ¬†in diverse range of styles. ¬†In Italy, where the wines are named after geographical regions rather than the grape varietal, there is, of course, Chianti, but there’s also Brunello, Montepulciano, and “Super Tuscan” variations of Sangiovese.

Sangiovese goes well:

  • With dishes with tomato-based sauces.
  • Dishes ¬†that are slow braised, grilled, or lightly smoked.
  • With dishes featuring fresh herbs such as basil, thyme or sage.
  • Richer, full-bodied soups such a bean soup, or minestrone.
There you have it, my short-list of the 5 most food friendly wines (for a more comprehensive list click here)! ¬†Equipped with these five wines, and spirit of exploration to find what works for your palate, pairing food and wine will go from daunting to delightful! ¬†I’ve added a new feature this week. ¬†Click on the hyperlinked name of the wine to find where you can buy. Also, since I’m limiting my wine recommendations to five, no dessert pairing this week:-(

Here is this week’s great #SundaySupper menu:

Breakfast, Starters, Butters and Jams:

Pair these dishes with Korbel Natural, a “California Champagne” made of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay. ¬†It’s a crisp, dry sparkler with cherry, raspberry and apple character.

Main Dishes:

Pair these main dishes with the Korbel Natural mentioned above:

Pair these dishes with Sauvignon Blanc. ¬†Look for the¬†2011 Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Te Muna Road Vineyard. It’s from New Zealand and it’s full of citrus, gooseberry and tropical fruit character:

Pair these dishes with a Riesling. ¬†One of my favorites is the¬†2010 Trimbach Riesling. ¬†It’s dry wine from the Alsace region with delicate aromas that belie¬†its rich, fruity tropical fruit, peach and citrus flavors:
Pair these dishes with Pinot Noir.  Look for the 2009 Dashwood Marlborough Pinot Noir from New Zealand.  This one has a fruity cherry, raspberry, herb, and spice character. 
Pair these dishes with a Sangiovese. Look for the¬†2009 Ninety+ Cellars Reserve Lot 57 Rosso Toscana. ¬†It’s a blend of mostly Sangiovese (80%) with the balance split between Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. ¬†Therefore it’s a what’s referred to as a “Super Tuscan”. ¬†It’s loaded with blackberry, black cherry, and spice character.

Desserts:

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm(Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite 5 Ingredient Recipes! All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat!

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Which Are The Best Types Of Wines For Barbeque?

Summer is officially here, and you know what that means! It’s time to start grilling, planking and smoking your favorite foods. While beer is probably the top of mind beverage for barbecues for most folks, don’t forget about wine! A glass of wine alongside your grilled favorites can elevate a meal from mundane to memorable.

Here are some of the things you need to know to successfully add wine to your list of favorite adult barbecue beverages!

  • If your meat, or vegetable has a sauce, salsa, chutney, etc. that dominates the flavors of the dish, let the sauce dictate which wine to pair with the food. BBQ Chicken is a good example. If you follow the clich√© white wine with white meat ‚Äúrule‚ÄĚ, it could be a challenge to find a white wine to stand up to the bold flavors of the BBQ sauce. It‚Äôll be much easier to find a red wine, or even a Ros√© that will complement BBQ chicken. In other words, think of the meat, or vegetable as a ‚Äúvessel‚ÄĚ for the sauce. Pair to the sauce, not the ‚Äúvessel‚ÄĚ.
  • Smoking, grilling, and blackening all transform the flavors of food, so that will dictate which wines to serve with the food
  • Spicy (hot) foods like sweet. Pair spicy hot foods with wines that have low to moderate alcohol levels (less than 14.5% generally), no or minimal oak, and some residual sugar (sweetness)
  • BBQ wines should be inexpensive

With those tips in mind, check out these lip-smacking wines for your barbecue!

Can't claim credit for this cooking, my friend...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Dry Rosé

I like Ros√© because it‚Äôs served chilled, which make it refreshing, while at the same time being ‚Äúbolder‚ÄĚ than the most popular white wines when it come to pairing with grilled, and smoked foods. I especially like a Ros√© with grilled salmon. Try the Bonny Doon 2011 Vin Gris de Cigare, or for sparkling, Gruet Brut Ros√©.

2. Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a wine that loves charred foods topped with barbecue sauces. Look for the Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel. And if your barbecue sauce is on the sweet side, consider an off-dry White Zinfandel. It’s great with barbecue chicken sandwiches. I recommend Beringer White Zinfandel.

3. Merlot

Merlot is a great choice for grilled, planked and smoked foods. This is especially true if you throw some herbs (rosemary comes to mind) into the heat source. Try the Bella Serra Merlot.

4. Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah, a plump wine saturated with berry flavors, and moderate acidity levels makes a great companion a range of grilled and barbecued meats. Look for Maggio Petite Sirah.

5. Shiraz

Wines made from the Syrah (a.k.a. Shiraz) grape, and Syrah blends are a natural with all kinds of grilled foods because of their fruity profile and acidity. Look for Rosemount Estate Shiraz.

6. Malbec

Loads of dark plummy fruit, and a touch of peppery spice make Malbec a natural for grilled burgers and steaks. Look for Dona Paula Malbec.

7. Sangria

Sangria, the wine punch so popular in Spain and Portugal, makes a great barbecue wine! You can make it either red, or white. There are lots of recipes on the web. Try a few, and find one you like. My favorite is called ‚ÄúBest Sangria,‚ÄĚ from Cook‚Äôs Illustrated.

8. Riesling

Think Riesling when your foods incorporate aromatic spices (such as Indian spices), or has a sweet and spicy marinades or sauce such as sweet and sour. It also pairs well with grilled sausages like brats, along with grilled pineapple, and veggies. Look for Navarro Riesling.

9. Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a wine that works well with grilled seafood, and shellfish, along with corn on the cob slathered in butter. Look for Clos du Bois Chardonnay.

10. Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a great wine for a wide variety of foods. It works especially well with dishes emphasizing fresh herbs, such as fish or chicken marinated in citrus, or vinaigrette. And if you’re grilling fish or vegetables featuring fresh herbs such as dill, it’s hard to beat. Look for Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.

11. Gew√ľrztraminer

Gew√ľrztraminer offers a nice balance of spice and moderate sweetness that make it an excellent partner with foods smoked/grilled over aromatic woods such as apple or almond. It‚Äôs fantastic with fruit based salsa too. Look for Columbia Crest Two Vines Gew√ľrztraminer.

12. Sparkling Wines

Last, but certainly not least would be sparkling wines like Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy. Because they are served chilled they offer refreshment. And that, along with their palate-cleansing effervescence and acidity, prepare your palate for the next bite of your favorite barbecue dishes. I recommend Mionetto Prosecco.

What are your favorite wines to serve with barbecue?

#Sunday Supper: Wines For The Foods That Move You!

I’m a relative newcomer to the #SundaySupper movement, but I can tell you it’s made a difference in my life. ¬†A few years ago when my wife I were first married, we made it a point to try to cook a nice meal on Sunday, break out a “weekend” bottle of wine and invite friends or family by to share a meal and good wine with us. ¬†Somehow over the last couple of years we’ve gotten away from doing this. ¬†Instead we’ve been dining out more. ¬†Since I’ve been a part of #SundaySupper – offering wine pairing recommendations for the fabulous recipes – that’s changing!

I truly enjoy offering wine pairing recommendations, and seeing all the wonderfully creative recipes, and the stories that often accompany them, has been an inspiration to me. ¬†It has¬†rekindled my desire to prepare a nice meal on Sundays. ¬†It’s something my wife and I can do together to connect after a hectic week. ¬†We’ve already tried a few of the recipes, and look forward to trying many more!

Brown Rice Seafood Paella

Here is this week’s line up of great recipes, along with my wine pairing recommendations…

The inspiration and recipes don’t stop there, we have more reasons to celebrate wine, food, friends and #SundaySupper and you don’t want to miss these great posts and recipes:

Please join the #SundaySupper fun.  Every week at 3:00pm ET the fabulous recipes are showcased. At 7:00 pm ET, we will start our live chat.  Join us on twitter by using hashtag #Sundaysupper or using Tweetchat.  We love to feature your recipes on our #sundaysupper pinterest board and share them with all of our followers.

You might want to say hello to our friends at Merrell too: www.merrell.com

Or connect with them on Twitter @merrelloutside and Facebook www.facebook.com/merrell
Check them out on You Tube 

My Sweet Goodness! The Cheesecake Factory’s Most Popular Cheesecakes Paired With Dessert Wines

I LOVE cheesecake! ¬†It’s definitely a deathbed food for me, though I will confess that I don’t eat it often because it’s so nutritionally naughty. ¬†In fact, now that I think about it, I haven’t had a slice in 2012! ¬†That’s going to change on July 30 – National Cheesecake Day. ¬†In honor of National Cheesecake Day, I thought it would be cool to offer wine pairing recommendations for the Cheesecake Factory’s most popular cheesecakes.

When it comes to dessert and wine pairings, there is only one hard and fast rule – ¬†the wine should be as sweet as, or sweeter than the dessert,¬†otherwise the wine will taste sour. ¬†That’s why cheesecake can be a challenging pairing – because it comes in so many variations/styles. ¬†Not to mention that it’s not top of mind when it comes to something with which to pair wine ( I bet a cold glass of milk comes to mind for the majority of folks) But to my way of thinking, having a great glass of dessert wine is one of the wine world’s and life’s finest and most delectable treats, and is the perfect way to cap off a great meal!

Here’s the deal, I went to the Cheesecake Factory website, and found the following 10 cheesecakes listed (in order) under “Our most popular” cheesecakes (hmmm…not sure how a cheesecake being rolled out next week is #1 on the list..but I’ll go with it)

Note: All images and descriptions of the cheesecakes are courtesy of the Cheesecake Factory

  • OREO¬ģ Dream Extreme Cheesecake¬†- “OREO¬ģ Cookies Baked in our Creamy Cheesecake with Layers of Fudge Cake and OREO¬ģ Cream Mousse. Topped with a Milk Chocolate Icing”. ¬†This seriously decadent¬† and delicious cheesecake debuts on July 30th according to the Cheesecake Factory’s website.

Pair with 2009 M. Chapoutier Banyuls Vin Doux Naturel (“VDN”). This is a lightly fortified wine from France made from Grenache with intense aromas of fig, quince, chocolate, licorice and spice nicely offset with tannins and acidity that make a charming match for this extreme cheesecake.¬†

  • Hershey¬ģ’s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake¬†- “Two moist layers of chocolate cake soaked with Hershey‚Äôs chocolate, layered with creamy Hershey chocolate ganache and chocolate cheesecake made with Hershey chocolate. Finished with Hershey milk chocolate icing and Hershey milk chocolate chips“.

Pair this chocolate overload with a Ruby port.  Ruby port is the least complex style of red Port, and is fruity and straightforward.  That youthful style should work well with the milk chocolate which dominates this cheesecake.  Try the Ramos Pinto Fine Ruby Port.

This classic cheesecake would be fantastic with the 2007¬†Schramsberg Cr√©mant¬†Demi-Sec, which is a sparkling dessert wine, and a fantastic one at that! ¬†I’ve enjoyed it with a “plain” cheesecake before, and it was a fabulous pairing! ¬†Because the Schramsberg is made it the “demi-sec” style which will be sweeter than the cheesecake. Additionally, the effervescence of the wine will cleanse the palate and have you ready for the next bite of cheesecake!

Red velvet cake tend to be less sweet than its chocolate counterpart. ¬†Pair with 2009 Dashe Cellars Late Harvest Zinfandel, which features cherry, raspberry, and hint of chocolate and vanilla flavors that are balanced out by a nice vein of acidity. ¬†It’s sweet but not cloying.

  • White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle¬ģ¬†- “Our Creamy Cheesecake with Chunks of White Chocolate and swirls of imported Seedless Raspberries throughout. Baked in a Chocolate Crust and finished with White Chocolate Shavings and Whipped Cream“.

Here’s another opportunity to pair cheesecake with a ¬†sparkling wine – this one is from Italy -¬†Banfi Rosa Regale. It’s a beautiful cherry red color, and offers delightful rose petal aromas backed by flavors of strawberries and raspberries. ¬†It’s one of the few sparkling wines that has an affinity for chocolate!¬†

Pair this decadent cheesecake with the¬†Gonzalez Byass “Matusalem” Oloroso, a sherry aged 30 years, which gives it a¬†dark color with intense and multi-dimensional dried fruit and nut flavors which will make a great complement to the chocolatey-peanut butter goodness in this cheesecake!

  • 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake – “Two layers of our Original Cheesecake and two layers of our creamy chocolate fudge cake filled with chocolate cream and finished with crunchy pearls of chocolate“.

Pair with¬†2010 Bonny Doon 2010 Mourv√®dre “Mon Doux”. ¬†This is a Port-like dessert wine made from the old-vine Mourv√®dre(MORE-ved-DRUH). ¬†Here’s what Bonny Doon says about it…”We harvested the raisinated parts of the clusters, hand-scissoring them on our sorting table. The resultant sweet red has aromas of blackberry, dried black cherry, tea leaves. On the palate, it has sensuous dried plum, fig, candied cherry, and sweet spice balanced by lively acidity”.

  • Godiva¬ģ Chocolate Cheesecake¬†- “Flourless Godiva Chocolate Cake topped with a Layer of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake loaded with Chunks of Godiva Milk Chocolate and topped with a layer of Godiva Chocolate Mousse. Godiva¬ģ is a registered trademark of Godiva Brands, Inc”.

Pair with 2008 Barra Bella Dolce Petite Sirah, which is a Port-style wine made from Petite Sirah with fresh blueberry, mocha, and ground coffee aromas, and sweet spicy dark fruit flavors that will complement this rich cheesecake.

  • Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake¬†- “A¬†Caramel Fudge Swirl Cheesecake, Topped with Caramel Turtle Pecans and Chocolate all on a Pecan Brownie Crust”.

Pair with Broadbent 10 Year Malmsey Madeira. Madeira is a fortified wine made on an island off the coast of Portugal. It has wonderful toffee-caramel like character that is the result of heated aging. The Broadbent has a sweet rich chocolatey flavor that along with the toffee and caramel flavor will be perfect with this decadently sweet cheesecake.

  • Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake¬†- “Our smooth Chocolate Cheesecake topped with a Layer of Chocolate Mousse and Baked in a Chocolate Crust. Finished with Chocolate Shavings and Whipped Cream“.

Pair with Churchill’s 10 Year Tawny Port. Tawny ports are ¬†smooth with a velvety texture and aromas of sweet fruit and roasted nuts. This is has a delicious sweet fig-like flavors and a caramel finish that will be a great match for this cheesecake.

 

My favorite cheesecake and dessert wine pairing? Come on! It’s impossible to pick one…it’s a toss-up between Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake/Madeira, and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate/Oloroso. ¬†And if you ask me tomorrow…you might get a different answer;-)!

Beat The Heat #SundaySupper – Hot Wine Pairings for “Cool” Food

It may be the hottest summer on record in the U.S. ¬†When it’s THAT hot, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven or the stove. ¬†I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat more salads or anything I don’t have to cook inside. ¬†This week’s #SundaySupper is all about salads, refreshing drinks, desserts and foods that don’t require baking. ¬†I’m pleased to offer wine recommendations for this great lineup of foods that beat the heat!

Image courtesy of portablefarm.com

Check out this week’s lineup of “cool” recipes! ¬†My recommended wine pairings are¬†italicized.

#BeatTheHeat Appetizers:

Ros√© is my favorite summertime quaff – it offers the soul of a red wine because it’s predominately made with red wine grapes, but with the cool refreshment of a white wine. ¬†Try the following appetizers with the 2011 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Ros√© from South Africa. It’s a fabulous wine, and a great deal at less than $10 too!

Try these delightful appetizers with Prosecco, which tend to be fruitier than other sparkling wines produced using the traditional method. That makes them the ideal foil for slightly spicy foods and smoked fish.  Look for La Marca Prosecco.  It has apple, peach and honeysuckle aromas followed by fresh, fruity apple, citrus flavors.

Pair the following appetizer with a Riesling, arguably the most food friendly white wine. ¬†Look for the 2010 Columbia Crest Two Vines Riesling – it’s distinctly off-dry with tropical fruit and citrus aromas, followed by ¬†stone fruit and mild orange flavors rounded out with a crisp refreshing acidity.

The grilled and the cheesy goodness of a baked potato skins will work best with a red. ¬†Look for the 2010 M√©nage √† Trois, a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. ¬†It’s an easy drinking red that can take a chill too because it’s fruity, lower in tannins with good acidity!

#BeatTheHeat Salads, Soups, & Sides:

Try the following dishes with a Sauvignon Blanc. ¬†Look for the 2011 Veramonte Ritual Sauvignon Blanc from Chile – it’s an elegant Sauvignon Blanc that sees a bit of oak, with pineapple, stone fruit, and citrus aromas and flavors.

Riesling will be a nice match for the following dishes.  Go with the 2010 Columbia Crest Two Vines Riesling mentioned above.

Pair  the following soup with a Rosé, or a sparkling Rose either the Mulderbosch, or the Gruet respectively mentioned above.

#BeatTheHeat Main Dishes:

Pair the following main dishes with a Sparkling Ros√©. ¬†They are among the most versatile food wines. ¬†I recommend Gruet Rose. ¬†It’s shows lots of red fruit, and the chilled¬†effervescence¬†will have you ready for the next bite of your entr√©e!

Pair the following main dishes with a crisp refreshing white blend, in this case the 2010 d’Arenberg Stump Jump White – a blend of¬†28%¬†Riesling, 27%¬†Sauvignon Blanc, 25%¬†Marsanne¬†and 20%¬†Roussanne¬†from McLaren Vale, Australia. ¬†It’s very food friendly with juicy citrus and tropical fruit aromas balanced nicely with good acidity.

#BeatTheHeat Desserts:

I differentiated between the frozen and other desserts because frozen desserts are a treat unto themselves, especially when it’s so hot! ¬†

For these non-frozen desserts my wine recommendations are as follows:
  • Elegant Fruit Jellies ~¬†Happy Baking Days¬† – La Marca Prosecco will be a fruity refreshing match for this dessert
  • Raspberry Mousse ~¬†Basic and Delicious¬†- Pair with Banfi Rosa Regale, a lovely Italian sparkler that offer rose and berry aromas, along with strawberry and raspberry flavors.

#BeatTheHeat Drinks & Cocktails:

Be sure you join the conversation on Twitter throughout the day on Sunday, and at 3:00 p.m. EST for the weekly #SundaySupper Twitter chat!  All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat!  Or check out the #SundaySupper Pinterest board.

#SundaySupper – Celebrating Independence Day with Family, Friends, Food and Wine!

I don’t necessarily think of myself as being very patriotic, but each year around this time we sing “America The Beautiful” at my church, and it chokes me up each time! I truly appreciate this great nation of ours, and feel blessed to be an American. ¬†And that’s what the Fourth of July is about for me. ¬†Okay – well that, ¬†and it’s a great reason to gather with family, and friends share great food and wine!

My food blogging friends have outdone themselves with this week’s #SundaySupper theme – Celebrating Fourth of July with Family and Friends. ¬†It’s big fun, and an honor for a self-described “Wino with latent foodie tendencies” such as myself, to offer some wonderful wines recommendations to match these great recipes!

Here’s a list of this week’s recipes and my recommended wines!

Pair these main course dishes with Zinfandel, an All-American wine if there ever was one! ¬†I recommend the 2009 Ridge Vineyard “Three Valleys” Sonoma Zinfandel Blend. ¬†It’s mostly Zinfandel with some Carignane, Petite Sirah, and Syrah invited to the party. ¬†It’s¬†well-balanced with great fruit, acidity, and a bit of spice!

Pair these main course dishes with a Pinot Noir. ¬†I recommend the 2009 MacMurray Ranch Central Coast Pinot Noir. ¬†This one shows plenty of classic Pinot Noir red fruit flavors and acidity. ¬†And Pinot Noir can take a chill. ¬†Throw it in the ice bucket for 10-15 minutes and you’ll have a delightfully chilled food partner!

What’s the Fourth of July without some sparkle?! ¬†A sparkling Ros√© is a great wine for your Independence Day culinary festivities. ¬†It’ll do double duty with these salads/sides and main dishes.¬†Try the Barefoot Bubbly Ros√© Cuv√©e.

Riesling is the white wine version of a “Chef’s wine” because it’s so food friendly. ¬†The¬†2010 Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling will be a great match for these ethnic dishes!

Try these salads and sides with a Sauvignon Blanc. ¬†It’s one of the few wines that’ll be a good match for¬†asparagus. ¬†Sauvignon Blanc (a.k.a. Fum√© Blanc – it’s the same wine) is a very versatile wine, and has a bold and forthright personality. ¬†Look for the 2010 Dry Creek Vineyard Sonoma County Fum√© Blanc.¬†

For these salads and sides, Chardonnay, America’s favorite white wine, will be great match. ¬†Look for the 2010 Napa Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Here’s another bubbly that’ll do double duty. ¬†Try an Extra-Dry Sparkling wine with these salads/side and desserts. ¬†The Chandon Extra Dry Riche¬†has got a bit of sweetness that partners well with spicy fare as well as fruity desserts.
As for the last of the salads and sides? ¬†This one needs no wine pairing because it’s made with one of my favorite Fourth of July beverages – Sangria!¬†
These desserts will be a pair nicely with a late harvest Riesling. ¬†Late harvest wines, as their description implies are wines produced from grapes that are picked late in the season ¬†The extra “hang-time” means the grapes have a higher sugar content, and are therefore sweeter. ¬†I recommend the 2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Late Harvest White Riesling. ¬†

For these desserts, I recommend a Port. ¬†Look for Graham’s “Six Grapes” Port.

I hereby raise a virtual glass, and I say to you – “Here’s to making memories!” ¬†- because that’s what family, friends, great food and wine are all about! – Cheers!

Mom 100 Cookbook #SundaySupper Food and Wine Pairings

This week, the #SundaySupper movement is teaming up with Katie Workman,  Author of the newly published The Mom 100 Cookbook. The cookbook is all about:

“...delicious, no-fuss, easily adaptable recipes, plus tips, attitude and wisdom for surviving and staying happy in the kitchen while proudly keeping it homemade. Because homemade not only tastes best, it is best for you.”

Image courtesy of themom100.com

That’s a winner in my book! ¬†This week’s theme is all about getting together with friends and sharing “portable” dishes (a.k.a. dishes one might bring to a potluck).

Here’s the menu for today.  My recommended wine pairings are italicized.

Soups and Salads:

Pair theses with a Blanc de Noir Sparkling Wine. ¬†Blanc de Noir is style of Sparkling that is made from black grapes, commonly Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. ¬†Because it’s made from black grapes, it tends to be well suited for more full-bodied foods. ¬†I recommend Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs, which is made with 90% Pinot Noir, and 10% Chardonnay. The Chardonnay give it a nice citrus note.

Main Dish Recipes:

Try these dishes with a lively fruity red wines. Look for the 2010 Evodia Grenache from Spain. ¬†It’s under $10 bottle and redolent of spicy ripe red fruits. ¬†Another option is a Beaujolais-Villages. ¬†It’s a wine from France made from the Gamay grape. ¬†It’s a big step up from Beaujolais Nouveau both qualitatively and as match for food, without costing that much more. ¬†Look for the 2009 Joseph Drouhin,¬†Beaujolais-Villages, it’s around $15. ¬†If those two are a challenge to find, go with a Pinot Noir. ¬†Look for the¬†2008 Buena Vista Pinot Noir,¬†it‚Äôs about $10 at Trader Joe‚Äôs.

If you prefer white wine, try these dishes with a Chardonnay.  I recommend 2010Napa Cellar Napa Valley Chardonnay

I recommend Sauvignon Blanc with these dishes.  Look for Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc.

As a “bonus” this week, I’m recommending a Sparkling wine to pair not only with the first course, but with the main dishes. ¬† Sparklers are among the most versatile food wines. ¬†Don’t relegate them to special¬†occasions¬†and aperitifs. ¬†And some bubbly will¬†definitely¬†add some pizzaz to your potluck! My recommended Sparkling wine is Mumm Napa Brut Ros√©. ¬†If there’s one wine that’ll be a good match ¬†for all of the above, it’s a Sparkling Ros√©!¬†

Desserts:

For a delicious change of pace, ¬†pair these with a Banyuls from France. It’s a fortified wine typically made from the Grenache grape. ¬†It may a challenge to find, but is definitely worth seeking out. ¬†Look for the Cornet et Cie Banyuls Rimage. ¬†It can be found at BevMo. ¬†If you can’t find a Banyul, go with the tried, tested and found true choice Port, I recommend Graham Porto 10-year Tawny.¬†

Try these with a sweet muscat. ¬†Look for it the 2010 Ceretto Moscato d’Asti¬†from Italy

…and this one would be sublime with¬†Banfi Brachetto d Acqui Rosa Regale,¬†which is a red sparkling wine from Italy, made from the Brachetto grape.

Cheers!

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