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wine for braised lamb

Cleo: then this might be a perfect opportunity to do a taste-testing of 3 or 4 varietals with the lamb, and perhaps prepare a couple different lamb dishes so your diners can really compare and contrast the various matchups. Serve little half-pours of each varietal, diners love that stuff.

Sep 18, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

wine for braised lamb

While alot of richer reds work, Cabernet Sauvignon is my first choice.

But if your wine vendor can offer you a substantially better zinfandel (or better value, etc.), then zin would be the closest second. I'd prefer to have a great zin to an "average" cabernet with this meal, so see what your vendors can offer you.

Sep 18, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Wine pairing for orange roasted capon

there's a rather famous thread on here featuring a "bitterorange" and chicken dish that you might want to hunt down. there were a few fireworks over the thread and I haven't seen the poster since, but the bottom line is riesling was the most successful match... Be aware that there was a fair amount of controversy as to whether a drier or "non-drier" riesling was the way to go. It's not controversial in my mind because it's all on a flavor spectrum as far as I'm concerned and while one diner might prefer a half-dry, another diner might like a non-dry auslese with it, it's that variable... I know others don't quite see it that way, just speaking from my experience.

And yes it is largely due to the connection with orange, but riesling also works splendidly with "chicken" in general and garlic, and does well with fennel and rosemary for that matter...

Honestly I can't think of a red that's in the same league match-wise. If you didn't ahve the orange I'd certainly look at a sauvignon blanc or chardonnay, but the orange tips it to riesling, IMO.

Gewurztraminer or scheurbe would probably be my second choices.

Sep 17, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Wine pairing for orange roasted capon

Riesling would be my first choice... kabinett or spatlese....

Sep 17, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Wine & chicken/sausage gumbo

It's hard to miss with riesling, gewurztraminer, or scheurbe... any ripeness you like really, even up to some auslese, just depends on how thick the flavor layers of the gumbo are and what your palate likes...

If doing these wines, serve a "nibbler plate" of emmental cubes, it matches the wine so nicely....

As a twist, beaujolais can be fun too....

Sep 13, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Anny's Animus - where to find?

that's really cool... I've been reading alot of Carl Jung the past couple years and the "animus" caught my eye :)

Sep 11, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Wine Pairing with Sea Scallops?

there have been numerous seasoning suggestions on the board for this dish. As presented in the OP I really favor chardonnay as a match for "scallops, pea puree and gremolata"... and it tolerates the pancetta...

As for seasonings, garlic and chardonnay are made for each other, so there's no conflict there at all.....

But if you're going to do EITHER a vanilla-infused or mint-infused version, these would tilt the wine selection towards riesling, for my tastes....

Sep 11, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Wine Pairing with Sea Scallops?

My first choice would be "chardonnay in almost any form". Be it buttery, austere, champagne.... the more important thing is that it be a good example of it's style. I'd prefer a great "buttery" cardonnay over an insipid white burgundy but just the same I'd prefer a great w.b. over an insipid "butter bomb"... just get the best of it's type that your wine vendor's can offer.

This said, your dinner would be an excellent opportunity to sample SEVERAL STYLES of chardonnay so that your guests to note the nuances and how they match with this very well-matched meal.

fwiw, a nice sauvignon blanc or kabinett riesling would be very enjoyable here as well.

Sep 10, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Anny's Animus - where to find?

"Anny's Animus"... Now THERE is a name for a wine... a name for anything really... what is this world coming to ??

Sep 09, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Help! Wedding Wine Advice

Pretty easy.

Best match for Clambake: Chardonnay or high-chardonnay champagne (blanc de blancs)

Best match for the VA pork bbq: Shiraz or Zinfandel...

BUT, if you can only do one wine for both, then I'd go with a riesling... a non-dry german kabinett or american equivalent is about perfect.

All of these are well within any reasonable budget.

Sep 08, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Sichuan pepper -- beware!

as for the spice itself and wine, IMO riesling and gewurztraminer are the best matches. Interesting that you mention beer pairing well, next time try a nice German (or american micro-brewed) WHEAT beer instead of, or along side the Pils.... I've found in tastings that wheat beers can be a tremendous matchup. I'd attribute that to the spicey/lemony/clovey flavors that a great wheat beer brings to the cuisine.

These comments are about the spice in general, not specifically paired with a grilled steak, for which these white wines are only fair accompaniments. I just generally don't pair red wines with pepper-prominent dishes but guessing blind I would expect best success with a zinfandel or shiraz, but not saying they'd be great matches.

Lastly as an alternative to sprinkling the pepper on top of the finished steak, it might prove better if it were part of a pre-grill marinade.

Sep 03, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Which White? Chicken/lime/cilantro

Because your main course accompaniments are medium-whites I would try to avoid heaveir wines with these hors d'ouerves...

For the latter two items (cheddar fennel anything) and chips and salsa, IMO the common denominator there is Sauvignon Blanc.

I assume the pizza is goat CHEESE, fig and prosciutto.... I'd probably do a moscato d'asti with this as moscato is very nice with both figs and prosciutto...

Interestingly, if you do moscato and sauvignon blanc with your apps then you could keep these two wines on the table for the main course (the lime cilantro chicken), and serve (for example), a riesling and gewurz along with the chicken.... so you end up turning it into a mini-tasting event by giving the guests 4 wines to match their main course with which is an excellent wine-tasting experience that people could learn alot from (assuming that's part of the objective of the meal).

Sep 02, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Which White? Chicken/lime/cilantro

How many wines to serve? Depends on a couple things.

FIRST, assuming it's a dinner with a little wine emphasis and you have just one main course, then I'd say 2 wines is about right, gives you the opportunity to compare how the 2 wines match and clash with the dish. Add one additional wine for each course you're having.

OR, assuming that you're really doing more of a wine tasting and the food is just there to "bounce the wine off of", then there's no realistic limit. 4 or 5 wines would be fine, just try to get varietals that have some realistic chance of matching your dish(s).

And... whenever someone mentions "party", I think it's always great if you can fashion some sort of post-dinner wine experience with nice matching desserts. Often that's what guests remember most and it fits the festive atmosphere.

Sep 02, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Starting a wine group- foods to accompany?

As for reds, it makes sense to me to start with the most COMMON REDS for the first couple group meetings, then work down to the more exotiic reds. Let's say you're doing 4 varietals each for first 2 meetings, then the most common 8 varietals are probably: Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, and Sangiovese. So pick 4 for each of your first 2 meetings.

Alternatively, you could focus on reds from a particular country or region.

Once you have specified the strategy and the wines for the evening, then you can work up matching food items.

As for comment notes, keep the paper fairly small with writing pens that don't require alot of pressure (like felt-tip flairs). You can just quarter some 8.5 x 11 letter size plain paper and staple a few together.

Personally I like to have all the wines on the table at the same time so guests can sip them side-by-side. And you either have to a) label the cups or b) make sure the guests are disciplined enough to keep the cups in order from left to right in front of them.

I don't find it as important to keep the identity of the wine hidden if they are different varietals. In fact I'd like to know so that I can note the nuance differences between the different types of wine. On the other hand, blind tasting is good if you're sipping several offerings of the SAME VARIETAL (say tasting 4 chardonnays for example) or if you have a trophy wine in the batch that will get undue "oos and ahhs" just because it's a well-known trophy. But otherwise I'd prefer to know what wine it is and just keep it straight by labelling the cups or keeping the cups in order. For example, if you pour the wines in order: zinfandel, rioja, cabernet, barolo... then have the 4 bottles "on display" from left to right in the same order and have the guests strive to keep their 4 glasses/cups in same order from left to right in front of them.

But getting the matching foods will be the last thing you do, after you've settled on which wines you're presenting that evening.

Sep 01, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Which White? Chicken/lime/cilantro

easy choice: riesling or gewurztraminer.... the lime, the fish sauce, the cilantro, the pepper flakes, not to mention the chicken, these wines are the common denominator.

the only other thing I could recommend would be a sweetish bubbly like moscato d'asti.

Aug 29, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Food and Wine Pairing

Alas a carbonara that's not gunked up with cream... good for you....

Personally I like a medium red here that's good with bacon and especially good with pecorino & pepper. Syrah is my first choice.

If by chance the recipe is made with parmesan rather than pecorino, then zinfandel OR syrah would be my top choices.

If you're specifically looking for italian reds, then look at vapolicella superiore or barbera.

Aug 28, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Want to learn more about wine - community style

Mexigaf.... try Meetup.com
they have several wine tasting groups in the NYC area... Here's a bunch of them:

http://www.meetup.com/search/?keyword...

Aug 27, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Suggestions For New Wines To Try?

Hi Boogie..

Those are pretty much ALL cabernets...

If you're just interested in reds then .... I would recommend just trying a "round robin" of various other red varietals. Here would be a few to check out:

California Zinfandel: Very affordable. In great years from good vineyards this is about as good a red wine as there is anywhere (IMO)...

Spanish Tempranillo: Look for Riojas and Riberas from 2001, 2004, and 2005. Riservas and Gran Riservas are particularly nice bottlings that aren't released for several years after the vintage. Again, great values you can find superb wines from 20 to 50 or so.

Stick to these vintages only, btw, vintages are extremely important in all wines but particularly big reds, IMO.

A 3rd very nice, widely-available, and distinctive red is Syrah (aka Shiraz). Start with Australian Shiraz from the 01, 02, and 05 vintages of the Barossa region. There's alot of great, fairly priced wines in this category.

SO, along with your cabernet, here's 3 new reds for you to try!

Aug 27, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Need food pairing suggestion

Don't wager too much. The typical amount is one or two slices, typically you get about 8 to 10 slices in an 8oz package... check any recipe.

But you could look at it another way, you probably don't put more than 1/3 of a cup of cheese on one portion of chicken breast do you ?

Aug 26, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Need food pairing suggestion

well as I've said, an ounce of cheese is as much cheese as you'd have in a serving of chicken parmesan.... it's a full serving by anyone's measure...

... I'm not saying that it's too much, just that it's not a "delicate" amount or a "hint" but rather a very solid portion which will constitute a primary flavor note of the dish...

... and while I often will make a dish more wine-friendly by adding cheese "to taste", I do so with a target wine in mind that matches the cheese...

This thread just reflects palate preferences. I'd go white and red here.... chardonnay (or champagne blanc de blancs) and probably zinfandel.... but it sounds like the "majority" would choose a white or sparkler.... to each their own.

Aug 26, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Need food pairing suggestion

Anyway I look at it...

1) OUNCE or more of cheese on my dish

2) 1/4 to 1/3 CUP of cheese on my dish

To my palate these are not"delicate" servings of parmesan... perhaps it is to your palate, that's a personal difference.

A "hint" of parmesan reggiano to me is a sprinkled teaspoon or two, not 1/3 of a cup, but again, that's personal taste.

To put this into some perspective, one ounce of mozarella is about how much goes onto a serving of "chicken parmesan", and everyone knows that cheese is a major flavor note in that dish. Well imagine the flavor of an ounce of Parmesan Reggiano which is many times bolder than mozarella...

Since for me an ounce of cheese, especially a dramatic cheese like Parmesan is a major serving and constitutes a major flavor note in the dish, I would prefer a wine that is the best match for it... and those are all richer red wines.

Aug 26, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Need food pairing suggestion

You can put any labels like "light summery" on something that you want, but 1 and a half cups of crushed parmesan hardly sounds "delicate"... that's going to have a very profound flavor..;.

Not to mention tomatoes marinated in garlic...

Again, if you want to go white with this, chardonnay is the obvious choice, but given the prominence of parmesan you're missing out on it's affinity for at least a medium bodied red here... rose isn't a primary pairing for parmesan and strikes me as weak for this dish...

Aug 26, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Need food pairing suggestion

how do we know what the "intensity" is... we're just given a list of ingredients...

Aug 25, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Need food pairing suggestion

my primary reasoning would be the parmesan and tomato notes, which i'm thinking will be the dominant flavors of the dish...

To my palate parmesan clearly favors a variety of red wines. Tomato is particularly nice with barbera, that's why it would be my first choice here.

Aug 25, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

What should I have served with this cheese?

both styles work, it's more a matter of personal palate preferences...

an even better answer is probably "the better of the two"... if your flintier chardonnay is objectively a better wine of it's type than your buttery chardonnay, then I'd go with the flinty version... and vice versa...

Aug 25, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Need food pairing suggestion

In general this dish favors red wine, IMO. My first preference would be barbera, zinfandel probably second.

As for whites, Chardonnay works reasonably well with parmesan and very well with basil and garlic so I'd probably do chardonnay here for a white.

Aug 25, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

What should I have served with this cheese?

Two suggestions:

1) Chardonnay OR

2) Champagne blanc de blancs (high % chardonnay champagne).

But, if you really want the most mileage from brie, try making a chardonnay-friendly hors-d'oeurve from it. A brie and shrimp or brie and crab dip is fantastic with chardonnay. Try also brie and caviar. Various chardonnay-friendly veggies work well with brie, like spinach and brie dip or asparagus and brie, etc...

To put these morsels over the top, add a few bits of walnut to the mixture, a very tasty flavor with chardonnay.

I mention this because while chardonnay is the best match for brie (IMO), it's not an ethereal wine and cheese combination by itself.

Aug 25, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

Pairing pork and green chili stew

Riesling is the obvious common denominator between these two dishes. I assume the dishes are going to be served together so it would be difficult to avoid "crossover" on the wines.

Given that, even though Pinot might be a good "pork wine", i've never been excited about pinot and "spice" in general and I'd avoid it here. If you want a pork-friendly red that handles spice somewhat better, I'd look at a zinfandel.

As for the ideal riesling ripeness, I'd look at a kabinett probably, non-dry, spatlese would be nice also I'd think.

If you're looking for predictable alternatives to riesling here, a rich alsatian gewurztraminer (or german for that matter) would be quite nice. Ditto a Scheurbe. For this meal, ideally it would be a good opportunity to compare and contrast a couple of whites (say a riesling and a gewurz), and personally I'd rather do that than serve a red with it, the way it's described.

Aug 23, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

WOW! Wines...

well, in terms of concentration, absolutely.

Aug 19, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine

WOW! Wines...

As a category, the most revelatory wines for me this year have been the 2005 Mosel rieslings, now developing a bit of maturity...

Numerous vineyards produced "wines of the decade" in 2005, you can almost throw darts at them. Fruit concentrations are incredible, even by Mosel standards, some spatleses drink like dessert wines. They get my vote.

Aug 19, 2008
Chicago Mike in Wine