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Wine-Food Pairing Advice


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To DR members: I'm hosting a dinner party and am soliciting input on what wine I should serve with each course. I have some ideas, however more heads are always better than one. Please feel free to suggest. However, I will indicate that:

- All wines must be able to be purchase in the Washington DC area, and specifically Calvert/Woodley ( where I shop).

- I'm looking to spend uner $20 bucks a bottle.

Here is the menu:

Snack to Start: Mushroom Pate

First Course: Eggplant salad with Basil

Second Course: Linguine with homemade Tomato Cream Sauce

Third Course: Poached Red Snapper with Butter & Shallot sauce on a bed of Spinach

Fourth Course: Profiteroles: stuffed with coffee & vanilla ice cream and lots of chocolate sauce on top

Would appreciate the inputs.

Chica Grace

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Snack to Start: Mushroom Pate

First Course: Eggplant salad with Basil

Prosecco

Second Course: Linguine with homemade Tomato Cream Sauce

tocai friulano say di lionardo or plozner

Third Course: Poached Red Snapper with Butter & Shallot sauce on a bed of Spinach

lagrein or pinot noir

Fourth Course: Profiteroles: stuffed with coffee & vanilla ice cream and lots of chocolate sauce on top

moscato d'asti

ask the wine folk there for specific brands, but these are the varietals I would go with. Not shopping there I don't know what brands they carry.

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Here is the menu:

Snack to Start: Mushroom Pate

First Course: Eggplant salad with Basil

Second Course: Linguine with homemade Tomato Cream Sauce

Third Course: Poached Red Snapper with Butter & Shallot sauce on a bed of Spinach

Fourth Course: Profiteroles: stuffed with coffee & vanilla ice cream and lots of chocolate sauce on top

Question: Each dish looks really great, but I'm not sure together - I'll explain...Eggplant is pretty filling and so is Linguine especially with a cream-based sauce - mushroom pate to boot. I would "lighten" one of the courses - probably the Linguine - because it's a bit hot outside, maybe take the cream out of the sauce. This of course changes the wine. Prosecco or inexpensive sparkler with the Mushroom Pate, a "bright" white wine to pair with the basil in the Eggplant salad (New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Austrian Gruner Veltliner, maybe a Riesling from Germany), a Sangiovese from Italy or California for the Linguine in a Tomato Sauce (I'm suggesting not doing the cream!), and since it's not a good idea to go from Red to white, go with a really light Red for the Snapper, an Oregon Pinot Noir or maybe an Aglianico from Southern Italy. I don't drink wine with dessert - unless the wine IS dessert, so maybe some really good coffee and an after-dinner Cognac with the Profiteroles, especially considering that the rich chocolate sauce doesn't need to be paired with wine!!

Hope that helps...

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Good suggestions, except that Aglianico (even the unoaked regional versions) is too tannic for fish. When tannin and fish oil combine, they create a distinctive metalic taste that most people find unpleasant. Try a Barbera instead - particularly one with little or no oak. Barbera's unique combination of high-acidity and low tannins make it the ultimate red wine for fish.

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Good suggestions, except that Aglianico (even the unoaked regional versions) is too tannic for fish. When tannin and fish oil combine, they create a distinctive metalic taste that most people find unpleasant. Try a Barbera instead - particularly one with little or no oak. Barbera's unique combination of high-acidity and low tannins make it the ultimate red wine for fish.

Kathy,

I'm going to experiment - I'm going to get me an Aglianico and some Red Snapper and see if you're by gosh right! But it IS an overstatement - par example, salmon and pinot noir - excellent! Tuna and Tempranillo - also good! I get more of the metallic with cheese and red wine - the majority of pairings I see with cheese and red wine don't work for me! To be totally honest with everyone - the above menu is actually not particularly wine friendly - that could take alot of explaining, but to simplify - eggplant is more of a red wine veggie, especially if you char the skin - pasta is neutral, but with tomatoes, I automatically think Sangiovese or the equivalent red - then you serve a relatively "light" fish in a pretty light preparation, I'm thinking white wine, high acid, but I hate light whites after reds - maybe even move the fish course to before the pasta - or change the sauce!

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... and since it's not a good idea to go from Red to white, ...

Amateur! :)

But it IS an overstatement - par example, salmon and pinot noir - excellent! Tuna and Tempranillo - also good! I get more of the metallic with cheese and red wine - the majority of pairings I see with cheese and red wine don't work for me! To be totally honest with everyone - the above menu is actually not particularly wine friendly - that could take alot of explaining, but to simplify - eggplant is more of a red wine veggie, especially if you char the skin - pasta is neutral, but with tomatoes, I automatically think Sangiovese or the equivalent red - then you serve a relatively "light" fish in a pretty light preparation, I'm thinking white wine, high acid, but I hate light whites after reds - maybe even move the fish course to before the pasta - or change the sauce!

Point of clarification - Kathy said tannin and fish don't mix, not red wine and fish. Pinot and even some Tempranillo (or Dolcetto or Barbera) can be light in tannin and perfectly friendly with fish, depending on the preparation.

I agree with you, though, Charlie, on the red wine with cheese - reds go better with firmer, aged cheeses than with the creamy gooey ones we (or at least I) tend to like. And rarely with blue cheese, which requires sweetness.

Actually, with that linguine I'd go for a white wine, even with tomatoes (and w/ or w/o the cream). This might even be a good time for a .... OH MY GOD AM I ACTUALLY GOING TO SAY THIS? ... a .... PINOT GRIGIO! :) Especially a nice one like Barone Fini, but they're probably at Total or Paul's rather than C-W.

Then again, they might have a nice one from Virginia!

[edited to add: Holy crap! I went to bed a Grouper and woke up a Ventworm!]

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Amateur! :wub:

Point of clarification - Kathy said tannin and fish don't mix, not red wine and fish. Pinot and even some Tempranillo (or Dolcetto or Barbera) can be light in tannin and perfectly friendly with fish, depending on the preparation.

I agree with you, though, Charlie, on the red wine with cheese - reds go better with firmer, aged cheeses than with the creamy gooey ones we (or at least I) tend to like. And rarely with blue cheese, which requires sweetness.

Actually, with that linguine I'd go for a white wine, even with tomatoes (and w/ or w/o the cream). This might even be a good time for a .... OH MY GOD AM I ACTUALLY GOING TO SAY THIS? ... a .... PINOT GRIGIO! :) Especially a nice one like Barone Fini, but they're probably at Total or Paul's rather than C-W.

Then again, they might have a nice one from Virginia!

[edited to add: Holy crap! I went to bed a Grouper and woke up a Ventworm!]

You're right - she said tannin! Wow, DR'ers are really on the ball! :)

Still beg to differ...even to the mighty Dave MCiNTyre!!

Let's look at body of wine, I use the skim milk, whole milk and cream analogy - these are

like the body of wine: light, medium and heavy.

So if you drink red wine (medium to heavy) how can you go back to white wine (light to medium)?

It's not that it tastes bad - Your palate would taste nothing!!

As they say in food and wine pairings, no one has died from a bad pairing, I hope

everyone takes this discourse with a bit of humor :)

BTW, I still love your Silly Joke: "How does my wife dress? Chablis!"

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Actually, it was "My wife treats me like a fine wine - chablis!" But I like your version, too.

There are some white wines that are heavier than lighter reds. The weight progression you cite works with wines, because that's the way we eat, too - from lighter to heavier foods in a multi-course meal. Unless of course, you're at minibar, which throws out all the rules, including wine pairing and progression.

What about progressing from bubbly white to dry rose´--say, something from the Loire Valley or Provence --with the pasta AND the fish?

This is a nice idea - look for a Sancerre rose, such as Henri Bourgeois. Made from pinot noir, with good verve and body.

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Main course for thanksgiving dinner is mole poblano, turkey cooked in a rich, fruity, complex sauce made from dried chilies (not hot), spices, seeds, nuts, and chocolate.

What alcoholic beverage would you serve with this? So far I've gotten some intriguing suggestions, but I'd love to hear what you wine geeks come up with.

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Main course for thanksgiving dinner is mole poblano, turkey cooked in a rich, fruity, complex sauce made from dried chilies (not hot), spices, seeds, nuts, and chocolate.

What alcoholic beverage would you serve with this? So far I've gotten some intriguing suggestions, but I'd love to hear what you wine geeks come up with.

Not a geek but intrigued. A big-fruit/high alcohol (ie approaching port potency) Zinfandel? (Interesting Zin article here) The chocolate makes it complicated. An Amarone?

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I love how every response is punctuated by a question mark. this is a tough one indeed.

Amarone and Zin both make as much sense as anything can here...a more traditional, earthy, less raisiny Amarone might be a great match, especially if it's aged but it's a little late in the game to get picky...

A good Syrah may work fairly well. I'd also imagine a good Mourvedre might work as long as it's not overoaked... the Small Berry Mourvedre by Cline is great stuff.

But you know what I would love with that kind of turkey preparation? A really great Flemish-style sweet-and-sour ale like Duchesse de Bourgogne! Or a good Belgian brown ale. Corsendonk Bruin should be fairly easy to find. Both of those will marry well with the spices, chocolate and nutty flavors without overwhelming the bird...

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Sounds like a delicious dinner.....

Amarone and Zin could work, but you might find their high alcohol contents problematic (for the pairing, anyway...). Since you mentioned Syrah already, you may be happy with one from the Northern Rhone - they tend to be spicy, complex, somewhat fruity and, in many cases, they have some subtle chocolate undertones as well. In any case, French Syrahs are a little more versatile with food than Zins and Amarones, and may be a safer bet. Riesling will definitely work, if you want a white wine.

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Main course for thanksgiving dinner is mole poblano, turkey cooked in a rich, fruity, complex sauce made from dried chilies (not hot), spices, seeds, nuts, and chocolate.

What alcoholic beverage would you serve with this? So far I've gotten some intriguing suggestions, but I'd love to hear what you wine geeks come up with.

I don't see any wine working all that well with a mole. Chilies and chocolate? I think of beer, not wine. Some of the holiday beers out now might work nicely, such as Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (some of Sierra's other beers have fallen off, but this is still good) or Anchor Christmas Ale, which is in a very roasty porter-ish style this year.
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I don't see any wine working all that well with a mole. Chilies and chocolate? I think of beer, not wine. Some of the holiday beers out now might work nicely, such as Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (some of Sierra's other beers have fallen off, but this is still good) or Anchor Christmas Ale, which is in sorta a porter style this year.

I vote for beer, too.

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I don't see any wine working all that well with a mole. Chilies and chocolate? I think of beer, not wine.

Me, too. :) Which is why I asked for "alcoholic beverage" ideas. But mostly I just wanted to get the discussion going, because when I asked around the other night, I got respnses ranging from French Cider to manzanilla to cru Beaujolais to Shiraz... but no one suggested beer.

Zora, devotee of all foods Mexican, where the heck are you?

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I would've suggested beer but you repeatedly assured me that it was mainly anchos and pasillas and the capsaicin levels would be low. That said, most good French cider is 4-5% abv so it has some of the same things going for it as beer.

(And Arrowine has a sick deal on a mixed case--12x750mL of 6 different ciders from biodynamic freak Eric Bordelet. Go. There's nothing stopping you.)

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Keep those ideas coming folks; it's Porcupine's menu, but I'm tasked with bringing the beverages. Short on beverage pairing fu myself, I'm fascinated by the reasons that support each suggestion so far. Neat.

I don't remember a shiraz suggestion on Monday, but other ideas included riesling kabinett, a fairly mineral pétillant, and sangiovese (Brian Zipin used almost exactly the same words he quoted to Kliman's chog yesterday).

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Was the Rare Vos a fresh bottle or one that had aged for a year or two?
Last from the cases I picked up fresh at the Ommegang brewery in June '05.

That apple sidre from Arrowine was perfect as both an apertif and an accompaniment to the squash soup course. Moderately dry and effervescent, clean, with lots of fresh apple peelings.

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I bought my boyfriend the ’99 Dal Forno Amarone for Christmas and we are getting ready to drink it. Part of the Christmas gift was that he could invite a few friends over to share and I would make a dinner to go with it. While I can cook anything I am hopeless in the pairing area. Can anyone suggest what I should make?

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I bought my boyfriend the ’99 Dal Forno Amarone for Christmas and we are getting ready to drink it. Part of the Christmas gift was that he could invite a few friends over to share and I would make a dinner to go with it. While I can cook anything I am hopeless in the pairing area. Can anyone suggest what I should make?
Easy way to do food pairings- look at what the food is like wherever the wine is made. Think proscuitto, cheeses (richer, saltier like gorgonzolas), think rich ragouts made in the classic ways, good deep steak...ok I'm hungry now.
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Schust is right on. It's going to be a big wine, and will likely not be dry. The tradition in the Veneto is for great Amarone to be consumed as vino dal meditazione, wine for meditation, not with a complex meal.

My suggestion would be to do a whole Veneto theme. Start with a nice prosecco. Then accompany fish/shellfish with a Soave from Inama (try to find a 2004 or 2005 vintage bottling), then a rich, meaty main a la jpschust's suggestions with a Valpolicella or other Veneto red (perhaps the blended Quintarelli Rosso Primofiore or "Ca' de Merlo"--which does not contain Merlot, IIRC), then the Dal Forno (which you will have allowed to aerate in a decanter for a few hours) with some inobtrusive cheeses (traditional Veneto cheeses include Asiago--of which artisinal varieties are available, Sottocenere--which is often truffled and would be a great match, and Piave).

Then finish off with some recioto di soave with a light dessert, followed by grappa--there are some prosecco grappi around, IIRC. That is, unless you are completely captivated by the Dal Forno.

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I bought my boyfriend the ’99 Dal Forno Amarone for Christmas and we are getting ready to drink it. Part of the Christmas gift was that he could invite a few friends over to share and I would make a dinner to go with it. While I can cook anything I am hopeless in the pairing area. Can anyone suggest what I should make?

Imagine that you are a lion and that you live on the Serengeti plain. You have just taken down a reebok or gnu and are about to happily tear into it. This is the wine that you would want to accompany it. :blink:

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I got this email today that is interesting:

---

Interesting note from someone at Ch Haut-Bailly (through a friend who owns another Chateau in Graves).  Just shows you it ain't all meat and potatoes with red vino! :)

"Our in-house chef likes to pair Haut Bailly young Wines with lobster/ red butter, veal; and older wines with poultry, squab or veal and beef. A perfect Saint Nectaire or a vintage comté is also a great pairing.
 
Dessert : bitter chocolate dessert, vanilla whipped cream."
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