Now that we’ve mastered food and wine pairing basics in Best Flavor Forward, we’re ready to match some of the most popular wine varietals in the U.S. today with some of our most popular PotsandPans.com original recipes. Each recipe features both a classic and an adventurous pairing suggestion. The classic pairing represents the traditional pairing philosophy, which focuses on pairing food and wines with complementary flavors, textures and other components; the adventurous pairing represents a more experimental approach, which explores pairing food and wines with contrasting profiles to create a dynamic tension between the flavors.
You may want to try one of the recipes below with both pairing suggestions to get a better idea of what sorts of pairings and flavor combinations resonate with your palate. If you do decide try more than one wine with a meal, keep in mind that in order to keep your palate clean and alert, you should always taste white wines before reds, light wines before heavy, and dry wines before sweet. And, have fun!
Fennel & Citrus Roasted Striped Bass
Classic Pairing: Try a sauvignon blanc – the herbal, earthy flavor profile of the wine will compliment the fennel and green herbs in this dish’s seasoning. This weight and intensity of this varietal is also delicate enough that it will not overwhelm the light texture and mild flavors of the striped bass.
Adventurous Pairing: Try a pinot noir – pairing a red wine with a white fish goes against predictable wine and food pairing guidelines, but pinot noir is a such a silky and light-bodied red, that the weight of the wine should not overwhelm the delicate white fish. The varietal’s subtle strawberry and plum aromas might also create a nice, subtle contrast with the citrus-based nature of this dish’s dressing.
Chicken with Plum Relish
Classic Pairing: Try a merlot – merlot is a medium-bodied red, so the weight of this varietal should not overpower the weight and texture of the chicken. Merlot also has a fruit-forward flavor profile of plum, blackberry, and baked cherries. The characteristics should pair nicely with the red wine and plum sauce that is sure to dominate the flavor in this dish.
Adventurous Pairing: Try a chardonnay – although this dish has a red sauce, the chardonnay grape makes a full-bodied white wine that can stand up to a richer, more weighty sauce. The medium-to-high acidity levels in a chardonnay will also thwart the vinegar-based plum relish (when paired with low-acid wines, vinegar can make a dish taste sour or spoiled).
Chipotle Sloppy Joes
Classic Pairing: Try a zinfandel – zinfandel is known for being a mouth-filling wine with jammy, spicy, peppery flavors that pair wonderfully with any thing BBQ. The flavor profile of this wine should complement the spicy, tangy sauce in this recipe, and the more full-bodied backbone of the wine will stand up to the weight of the hearty dish.
Adventurous Pairing: Try a gewurztraminer– this is a German white wine that is known for spicy, citrus and floral flavors. Because of this exciting and unpredictable flavor profile, the wine should pair well with this zesty-flavored fare. Although gewurztraminer is a white wine, it is still full-bodied enough that it will not lose any effect when paired with this spicy dish.