Which Wine Should You Pair With Dinner?


Presented by Wine Craft

Friends and customers often ask me, what will this wine go with? A better question might be, what kind of wine will go with a particular entrée or recipe?

There have been countless books written about what food to pair with which wines; however, there are no definitive answers, as we all enjoy different things in different combinations. What is known to most in the wine and culinary industry is that you should never try to match wine to specific foods, but instead pick the dish you have in mind and think of how it might bring enhancement to a particular type of wine or even to a specific bottle.

Last night we had my mother-in-law over for dinner and wanted to slow-roast a leg of lamb with some spiced lentils and creamed lemon-zest spinach. Questions I began asking myself were how many wines did we want to serve and what flavors were the dominant flavors in each dish that we could play with.

The meatiness of the lentils combined with the Ras el hanout seasoning would be slightly similar to the body of the roasted lamb covered in a gravy of its juices with plenty of browned onion and garlic. For this type of company, a Pinot Noir or Sangiovese would suffice. However, because we also were eating a side dish of lemon zest creamed spinach, I wanted to provide a wine that was extremely versatile and could accept the flavors of the fat and brightness of the lemon.

I decided the best choice for this dinner pairing would be a Nebbiolo Sangiovese blend. While both varietals equally have high acid, they are extremely smooth and medium in body. The 70% Nebbiolo adds the backbone and tannic structure with dark fruit and a bit of earthiness complimenting the lentils and lamb stock. The 30% Sangiovese also high in acid, but with brighter red fruits such as cherries and strawberry preserves react well to the brightness in the stock’s tomato paste as well as the lemon zest in the creamed spinach. The main goal is enjoy your dinner and have the flavors of your dinner actually intensify and sometimes round-out some of the sharper flavors in your wine. For example, a very bold cabernet sauvignon choice can go from deep with intensity to a smooth buttery mouth feel when paired with a rich cut of prime rib with buttery sautéed mushrooms.

In the end, there is no right or wrong answer as all taste buds are different. The goal is to find the pairing that you enjoy the most!

Doug Vogel
Owner/ Wine Craft Tasting Room






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