Everyday Pairings

Let’s face it. Sushi is as hot an item as pizza is pervasive so here’s some ideas for you:

Sushi – Contrasting Pairings (note sauce references!). These recommendations come from Wine Folly, the work product of two of the world’s leading wine authorities: Madeline Puckette, Certified Sommelier and Designer and Co-founder Justin Hammack, Digital Strategist, Information Architect and Entrepreneur. Their book Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. is a NYTimes Best Seller available worldwide in 22 languages.

Albariño

Try it with Tempura

Albariño bursts with flavors of lemon, lime, green peas and blossom, with high acidity and a slight bitterness on the finish. Winner winner, prawn tempura dinner: this is phenomenal with the sweetness of the shrimp, the oiliness of the deep-fried Panko, and the acidity of the sauce.

Grüner Veltliner

Try it with a Dragon Roll (Cucumber and Avocado)

This Austrian native variety is rarely grown elsewhere. These wines have high acidity and flavors of white pepper, green peas, lime, and lemon. It could play really well with a Dragon Roll (eel, crab, cucumber, avocado, eel sauce). The razor sharp acidity cuts through the richness of the sauce and sticky rice, and the green flavors dance wonderfully well alongside the cucumber and avocado.

Prosecco

Try it with a Chopped Scallop Roll

This northern Italian tank-method sparkler has a bright, peachy, lemony fruit essence, sometimes with a hint of sweetness. Prosecco is an outstanding complement to a chopped scallop roll. Scallops are naturally sweet, soft, and delicate. Sometimes made spicy, a creamy chopped scallop roll just begs for a touch of sweetness and high acidity to slice through the succulence.

Provençal Rosé

Try it with a California Roll

Provençal Rosé has bright acidity and is bone dry, while being seriously red-fruit dominated and mineral driven. Enter strawberries macerated on a hunk of wet slate. Provence is famous for many things, most applicably: seafood and rosé! The crab and creamy avocado in a California roll are just begging for a light, bright rosé.

New Zealand Pinot Noir

Try it with the North-American Inspired Philadelphia Roll

For you red wine diehards; New Zealand Pinot Noir, or the rarer red Sancerre (also Pinot!), showing lighter body and tannin could be just the right match. Tannins in red wine are important to note when pairing with fish, because tannin can render fish tasting metallic. Fortunately, the cream cheese in a Philly roll will help to soften that effect.

Fino or Manzanilla Sherry

Try it with Uni (Sea Urchin)

This entire article would be amiss without a mention of Sherry. Fino or Manzanilla (man-tha-nee-aa) styles, with their light body and briny salinity, are a match made in heaven for seafood choices with a more intense flavor. Uni, or sea urchin, is essentially the foie gras of the ocean: smooth, mildly nutty, and briny without being overtly fishy. The salinity factor is the key here.

Kabinett Riesling

Try it with a Spicy Tuna Roll

A Kabinett level sweetness German Riesling with a spicy tuna roll just says “foodgasm.” It’s widely known that sugar turns the dial down on chili heat (the beloved Sriracha included), and sushi rolls are no exception. Spicy rolls are generally made so via spicy mayonnaise. So, an aromatic, high-acid wine with some sweetness to it would certainly be the natural direction. Yum.

Gewürztraminer

Try it with an Unagi Roll

“The one with Unagi.” – Thanks, Ross.

Unagi, or freshwater eel, is similar in texture to chicken, while tasting somewhat Swordfish-esque, but with an underlying sweetness. There’s a strong taste to it that begs for a wine with a comparable strength. Look for wines that are from higher altitude regions (such as Piedmonte, Italy) for examples that won’t fall into sugar-level overkill.

The ginger notes in “Geh-wurtz” will also sing alongside the pickled ginger garnish – not to mention the fact that the residual sugar in this wine quells the quick-burn of wasabi. Make note to be mindful to avoid high acid soy sauce when it comes to lower acid grapes (like Gewürztraminer).

Gavi

A Piedmontese wine made from Cortese grapes is high in acidity and shows peachy, floral aromatics. Try this with traditional sashimi.

Chablis

The northern Burgundian rendition of Chardonnay grows on Kimmeridgian clay soils, which are literally crushed up seashells from the Jurassic period …now, if that isn’t a sign!

Brunch & Pre-Dinner Apps

While the following are great breakfast / brunch item ideas, when you include them on either sweet crostini or savory bruschetta You’ll have an afternoon, pre-dinner or party treat. These great and delicious pairing ideas were sourced from Source: Food & Wine Magazine. Get their Guide to Food and Wine Pairing. It’s rich with fantastic pairings.

Pear, Gorgonzola, and Honey Toast – Sauternes or Coteaux du Layon

Sweet and savory toast at its finest, creamy Gorgonzola cheese topped with thinly sliced pears and drizzled with honey is a sensory overload as is. Pair with a sweet French dessert wine, either a Semillon-based white.

Hummus and Tomato Toast – Pinot Grigio

A good quality Pinot Grigio will often present a medium-bodied palate of floral, slightly honeyed notes, which will mesh deliciously with the creamy hummus, with a strong enough acidity to stand against that of the tomatoes.

Goat Cheese, Plum, and Honey Toast – Fuller-Bodied Rosé

While the quintessential wine pairing for goat cheese is generally Sauvignon Blanc, we’re taking a different direction with this one, given the sweet additions of fruit and honey. A fruit-forward rosé will have enough backbone to stand up against the bite of the cheese, yet also mesh beautifully with the honey-drizzled fruit.

Peanut Butter and Banana Toast – Tawny Port

Peanut butter is another one of those tricky items to pair wine with. The caramel, nutty notes of an aged tawny port will pair beautifully with the nutty notes of the spread, while also playing off the sweetness of the banana.

Avocado Toast – Verdejo

Avocado toast has become a staple on brunch menus nationwide, and why wouldn’t it? It’s delicious! However, this sweet, fatty fruit can be a tricky one to pair wine with. Our answer? A crisp Verdejo from Spain. The acidity in the wine will cut through the creaminess of avocadoes, while the stone-fruit flavors will enhance the avo’s sweetness.

Popular Food Favorites and the Wines that Make Them Even Better:

Pizza:

  • Tomato based love medium-bodied reds or Italian rosé
  • Meat tomato and cheese bigger and bolder reds work best and here’s a wine you might not know but our Chairman does and he loves it: Anglianico
  • Margherita: using your “congruent” pairing, try a Sangiovese for an acidity match-up.
  • White pizza with cheese, veggies like arugula and Prosciutto; or peppers & onions ;or mushrooms and artichokes (always tough!): a inexpensive but high quality Prosecco will work well.

Wings:

  • Hot wings go well with sweeter wines which offset the spicy taste and flavors.
  • Mild to Moderate Hot pair very well with a full-bodied wine such as a Merlot
  • Smoked Wings pair with peppery, jammy wines like Zinfandel or Grenache
  • Jerk Wings which are of course usually hot and spicy are complemented by a rose
    And yes, you could always choose a good Prosecco for the acid cutting bubbles and the sweetness factor. Source: Glass Half Full

Fried Chicken:

  • Aren’t you happy you clicked on this link: fried chicken is a favorite across our country and wherever you go you can expect a debate as to which style and preparation is best , but for dining pleasure you’ve got two winning choices:
    1. A Dry Riesling that offers a touch of fruit sweetness balanced by minerality and acidity to combat the chicken’s fat (dark meat) and oiliness. Great choices range from Washington or New York State and Austria or Germany.
    2. A sparkling wine that offers the same taste values as a Riesling.

Burgers:

  • Meat needs a red here but the add-ons can change your final pairing choice…
  • Big Mac* – Try a Pinot Noir. It will bring your burger up another level.
  • Cheeseburger with or without bacon needs a Cabernet Sauvignon or a bold red blend.
  • In-N-Out Double Double* with grilled onions beg for a Beaujolais region Gamay.
  • French Fries call for a sparkler such as a Prosecco.
    *Big Mac and Double Double are Trademarks of McDonald’s and In-N-Out respectively.

Note: Coming in November look for some delicious pairings for cheese, charcuteries, pasta and vegan/vegetarian tastes.