Autumn is a great time of year. We can have warm days with full sun. It almost feels like summer if you close your eyes. It’s equally possible to have a chance of rain and the familiar cold breeze that signals a change. You can enjoy a glass of wine out on your patio and light a fire. I almost never dismiss a good Gin and tonic or Brandy. Changes in the weather also bring changes in palate. We eat and drink differently; heavier. You will see a change in seasonal vegetables especially with the root crops finishing up where squash, turnips, garlic, potato or beets are fully used. Thanksgiving is a great example when wine and Fall flavors come to the table.
EVENT Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014:
We host a major Winemaker Dinner at Bistro 42 adjacent to Door Peninsula Winery in Carlsville, in September (Saturday, Sept. 13th, 2014), where a 5 course dinner is paired with wine and concludes with a handmade desert. Many of the ideas we discuss to make this dinner special revolve around current food trends and medium to light bodied wines. If you are interested in our dinner you can find more information and tickets online at dcwine.com in the Events Ticketing section, or by calling 1-800-551-5049.
People ask me about food and wine pairing, and as you might expect I study this as it’s really an enjoyment as well as my job; am not a hot dog and hamburger guy. Wine and food pairing can be straight forward, white wine with fish, red with meat. Good first step, but I like to use the umbrella statement: ‘The weight of the wine should match the weight of the food.’ This idea allows experimentation with your palate and will open many options that are not in-line with traditional pairings. To me, every spice ingredient used or side-dish flavors on the plate play a large part in pairing food wine.
With fish, it’s usually white wine but here is a progression of options: Baked salmon, or other fatty fish or finished in a buttery sauce, paired with Chardonnay. Coarse bread and nut encrusted White Fish and Riesling, grilled paprika Salmon with Pinot Noir, grilled soy glazed Swordfish and Merlot, blackened Mahi and Zinfandel-which is sweet and fruity to balance the char and spice. Have you had Cabernet Sauvignon with bitter vegetables yet? Try grilled Beets, Eggplant & Portobello, or grilled fish atop arugula dressed greens; they love it together.
With a beef and wine pairing, the best suggestion is to match the spices and use understanding of the cut of beef. A seasoned portion of beef cooked medium rare, the mild cuts are filet or ribeye, and the heavier cuts are New York strip, flank steak or grilled tri-tip roast. The lighter cuts are best with lighter bodied wines such as Merlot, lighter alcohol Zinfandel, or over the counter blended red wines. Try a Barbara if you can find it. The heavier cuts of beef generally pair with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux or Rhone. At the winemaker dinner, we are pairing braised beef with Zinfandel. The slow cooking with limited spice allows the beef to become sweet and with the fat rendered out during the cooking, it doesn’t require a wine with high acidity.
~Paul Santoriello, DPW
Stay tuned for more wine pairing wisdom in Paul’s next installment regarding wine chemistry!
Find what you’re hungry for: Download the Door County Chefs FREE Mobile Dining App to find Bistro 42, Door Peninsula Winery, and many more great dining options on the Door Peninsula!