Food Pairing is Important
Last night we had a small family Reunion gathering at my in laws. Present were my father in law, mother in law, wife, sister in law and her husband from Peru and also good friends Sarah and Chris who live in San Diego.
We had a fairly common objective yesterday. Given a $100 budget, find 3 bottles of wine that could pair with london broil, red potatoes and squash.
Given time constraints we found ourselves at Ralphs in 4S Ranch…..yes a grocery store. Luckily this grocery store has a better wine selection then any other chain grocery store I’ve seen, but it’s still not going to have the best options.
We tried to make it into an official tasting, each trying a small amount of each wine followed by a short discussion about what we each we able to taste…..no there isn’t a Robert Parker in the group either.
What we drank:
Ghost Pine Merlot 2006 $21.99
Wood Winery Cab 2004 $25.99
Stag’s Leap Petite Syrah 2006 $39.99
We were only able to accurately poll six of the eight of us the next morning about which wine was the best, but there was something conclusions which only lead me to believe that wine is complicated.
All three men liked the Cab from Wood Winery the best.
Two of the women said they liked the petite syrah the best, while my wife said she liked the merlot the best with appetizers(including artichokes) and the petite Syrah the best with dinner.
To be honest the Syrah from Stag’s Leap is the best wine of the group, but I felt the Cab helped bring out some of the marinate on the steak(which was well done, not my favorite)
Additionally I am partial myself to Cab’s.
Truthfully we did not correctly pair our wine with food, which is something that generally helps make the meal that much more enjoyable.
If I could go back and find a normal wine store, or into a wine cellar that had been appointed over the past few years with the types of wines our clubs will provide…. with my $100 what would I do?
For our main wine I’d head into the cellar for Casa Lapostolle’s Clos Apalta which is a Chilean red wine. It was scored at 95 points by Wine Spectator and at one point was selling for $40 per bottle before the maker figured out the type of product he had-which now retails at over $100 in the US. Again Chile and other younger wine regions typically make bigger red’s then Napa and Bordeaux even with the same type of grapes so be careful what it is paired with. This is a great example of the type of young wineries that produce great product and then get more expensive as they age. It’s amazing when you find these deals early on and see the winery grow and change over the years.
I’d also offer a Napa Merlot becuase everyone always likes Merlot at least ok…except that guy on sideways.
Looking back pairing with the artichoke was a problem. I had originally picked the Merlot because I thought we were grilling the artichoke…the thinking being that the grill would give a certain bitterness that would stand up to the red wine. In fact it was steamed, so pairing it with a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc would have been a better bet.
As always we try and enjoy our food and wine but this was a good example that simply running out to the grocery store because your in laws don’t cellar anything isn’t going to give you the best return on your wine investment.
To that end we’ll be providing pairing ideas with easy to follow recipe’s with all of our bottles.