Saturday, March 7, 2009

Some Non-Traditional Food & Wine Pairings

Jay McInerney's Bacchus & Me is a wonderful wine book that belongs on the shelf of every oenophile. The book is comprised of numerous vignettes describing wine from a particular grape or region, and like a good wine, a little taste can go a long way. McInerney's writing is very witty, and he definitely knows his wine but is talented enough to describe it in a casual, accessible way. For example, he criticizes California chardonnays by analogizing them to Playboy models ("their homogeneous voluptuosity often had more to do with technology than with nature") rather than going off about oak and filters and malolactic fermentation. Gotta love this guy!

One of the appendices in his book is a list of more modern food and wine pairings that has been really helpful when I'm eating a meal that has not traditionally been paired with wine. We all know that champagne and oysters are a good match, and that cabernet sauvignon can enhance a steak, but what wine would go well with pad thai?

Not Your Grandfather's Food and Wine Combinations
  • Australian Chardonnay and Kraft macaroni and cheese [For the kid in all of us?]
  • Australian Semillon and lemongrass chicken
  • Bandol Rose and barbecue
  • Barbera d'Alba and pizza
  • Barbaresco and steak tartare
  • California Cabernet and grilled eel
  • Chateauneuf-du-Pape and antelope
  • Champagne and Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Champagne and sushi [I'm going to have to give this a try!]
  • Gewurztraminer and Thai food [I can personally vouch for this one. A sweeter Riesling would also pair nicely.]
  • Gruner Veltliner and peekytoe crab
  • Krug champagne and popcorn
  • Late harvest zinfandel and chocolate cake
  • Late harvest Alsatian Pinot Gris and foie gras
  • Oregon Pinot Noir and grilled king salmon [Yum!]
  • Oregon Pinot Gris and grilled king salmon
  • Old-vine zinfandel and southern fried chicken [Interesting...]
  • Petite Sirah and steak au poivre
  • Pinot Noir and guinea fowl
  • Pinot Noir and Arctic char
  • Riesling and dim sum (or Cantonese food in general) [I've never had a satisfactory wine paired with Canto food, just because there's such a variety of flavors in the cuisine. But hey, this suggestion is better than none.]
  • Riesling and anything


Cookie said...

We went Champagne tasting a couple of years ago in Napa (we REALLY need to do that more often!) and the guide actually told us that Champagne went well with popcorn and get this...PIZZA too! She said the reason was that the bubbliness (is that a word?) was similar to beer. Heck, I'd drink Champagne ANYTIME with ANYTHING! The Riesling with Dim Sum is TOTALLY true! We did that when we went to Yank Sing a while back.

Unknown said...

@Cookie: Totally agree -- I'd drink champagne with any kind of food! I still have to try the riesling with dim sum :)