Food-Wine match - Printable Version

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- Alz - 08-16-1999 07:36 PM

Given the choices of the following;
White Zinfandel,Mondavi
Pinot Grigio,Campanile
Fume Blanc,Ferrari-Carano
Chardonnay,Glass Mountain
Chardonnay,Lindeman's Bin65
Chianti Blend,Frescobaldi'Remole'
Shiraz,Banrock Station
Pinot Noir,Rodney Strong
Cabernet,J.Lohr'Seven Oaks'
Taking into consideration that there are no
years posted to each selection,how would
you match them to the following;
BBQ chicken
Mojo chicken
Turkey(thanksgiving dinner)
Sushi(other than saki)
Pasta with tomato sauce
Pasta with alfredo sauce

Thank you very much..... ALZ

- Randy Caparoso - 08-18-1999 12:28 AM

Good lord, a test! Wish I could just draw a line in between the entries. Highlights for Wine Geeks?

Well, here goes:

BBQ Chicken: If with lip smacking tomato marinade and heavy wood flavor, do the Shiraz or Chilean Merlots. If it's chile spiced, do the White Zin. If with Asian style teriyaki (soy, ginger, garlic, etc.), also do the White Zin, although the Pinot Noir (which you didn't mention) is also very good.

Mojo Chicken: Come on, give us a hint. What is "Mojo?" (I know mine stopped working twenty five years ago).

Chicken: In most cases, Chardonnay or Fume Blanc (white meat with white wine, right?); but certainly not always. Italian "hunter" style, it's Chianti all the way. Whole roasters with just lemon or herbs, Fume Blanc. Roasters from the smoker, or with mushrooms and cream sauce, or with sage inflected stove top stuffing, it's Chardonnay, Chardonnay, Chardonnay. With olive oil, black olives, garlic, and other strong Mediterranean flavors, it's the Shiraz or Chianti.

Salmon: Again, what are we doing with it? Poaching it in natural juices with spring vegetables like Jacques Pepin? Fume Blanc or or Pinot Grigio will certainly do. Poached in Chardonnay? With Chardonnay. Served cold, picnic style? White Zin, or Pinot Grigio. Wood grilled? White Zin, if it's served outside on the patio; Pinot Noir, if it's inside with special friends or somewhat formal (mood and setting has a lot to do with things, too). Grilled Asian style ponzu and crispy cucumbers? White Zin, again.

Meatloaf: There's a fat factor here, for which medium to heavy weight reds come in handy. Cabernet first; Merlot second; Shiraz, if you make it peppery and well seasoned.

Mahimahi: Think of it like chicken. In other
words, preparation counts. Simply wood grilled -- Pinot Grigio, Fume Blanc and even Chardonnay certainly will do. Sauteed -- ditto. Fancy beurre blanc, creamy, or seafood stock infused sauces -- Chardonnay gets a chance to shine, although a Ferrari-Carano Fume is certainly up to the task. But if you throw it into anything tomato-y and oniony, then you gotta go red -- especially lighter styles like Chianti and Pinot Noir.

Steak: Beef? Generally, Cabernet, Cabernet, Cabernet. But if a lean, tender, expensive cut like tenderloin or filet -- Merlot or Pinot Noir (since lower fat requires less tannin). But if you're going "Fiortini" style (olive oil and cracked pepper in an iron skillet), that Chianti sounds awful good (the extra oil gives the slightly sharp Sangiovese grape something to bite into).

Pork chops: Depends on how much fat you leave, you know. If it's very lean or not fatty at all, you're better off with a white wine -- Fume or Pinot Grigio. Same thing if you're pan frying with lemon, or deglazing with white wine and a pad of butter. But if still retains fat, and is cooked with, say, rosemary or other resiny herbs, Chianti is pretty much ideal, although Pinot Noir is also light and zesty enough. If you pan fry with all kinds of stuff -- garlic, shallots, bellpeppers, mushrooms, etc. -- and even deglaze with red wine or a drop of soy, then Merlot and even Shiraz would probably handle the extra flavors better. Then if you go Asian -- hoisin, soy, ginger, oyster sauce, etc. -- then White Zin would probably do well, although Pinot Noir can probably also handle the Asiatic spices.

Liver: Don't overcook! Leave some blood, and maybe even do some milk soaking, or else no wine in the world will help. So if you manage to keep it "soft," dust and pan fry with with classic bacon and onion, go for a fairly soft, simple red like Chianti or Merlot. If you leave off the bacon and onion and just saute, then deglaze with butter and red wine, then you can even move up to a velvety Cabernet (although Merlot and Pinot Noir will also do).

Turkey: Once again, what are ya'll doing with it? I love sage stuffings and wood smoking, for which Chardonnay is just perfect. Chardonnay is great, in fact, with any kind of herbed bread stuffing and oven baking. Same wine, if you stuff with oysters or wild mushrooms. But if you stuff with sausages or something super-rich, then you have to bring out the soft reds like Merlot and Pinot Noir. If you're durn fool enough to deep fat fry Paul Prudhomme style, then you just have to bring out the White Zin or Pinot Grigio, or better yet, take the Chianti and give it a deep chill and serve it up bracingly sharp and tongue snapping.

Sushi: White Zin is nice and fruity for gingery, soy and rice wine vinegary flavors. Avoid overly sharp dry whites like Fume; will make the sushi fish taste tinny. Also wonderful is a slightly chilled Pinot Noir; especially if served with doses of special, mustardy ponzu sauces, super-especially if you're using toasty, smoky sesame seeds with rich, oily fish like salmon, hamachi and tuna. Finally, Chardonnay is (surprisingly) not bad at all -- especially with toasted sesame seeds, eggs, and white moto sauces.

Pasta with tomato: Centuries of gastronomic experience can't be wrong -- go Italian with Chianti. Do Pinot Noir only in a pinch; Shiraz, only if you're using strongly fenneled/peppery sausages.

Pasta with Alfredo: Soft whites like Chardonnay. Pinot Grigio is light enough, but I'm afraid that Fume Blanc usually proves a tad sharp (the cream will make the wine taste sharp).

Okay? A final suggestion: experiment. Doesn't ever hurt to have one or two bottles available. They taste just as good the next day if corked and refrigerated, you know. Taste, test, taste, and test some more. Especially since ultimately you're the judge!

- Thomas - 08-18-1999 07:30 AM

Generally, Randy's pairings are quite good. Me, I do not like taking tests.

- RickBin389 - 08-18-1999 04:37 PM

Mojo - a Cuban lime/garlic/Veg oil marinade - usually for pork & or chicken often including onions, sweet peppers & sometimes allspice.

I think Randy used your inventory as well as can be expected.

- Randy Caparoso - 08-18-1999 04:53 PM

Okay, Mojo Chix: Sounds Spanish-y, and so if Rioja or the like is not available, any soft, slightly rustic red (like Chianti or Chilean Merlot) will probably do for the allspice, lime and sweet peppers. The idea would be round tannins, just a tad of acidity, and lots of red wine flavor.