Fried Rice with Wine

Happy Chinese New Year!  It's the year of the rabbit and what better way to celebrate than with a Chinese food and wine inspired pairing.  Fried rice has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid.  Every blue moon my grandmother would order take-out from a local Chinese restaurant, which always included combination fried rice for yours truly.  I loved these nights because instead of asking me to set the dining room table, my grandmother would lay out paper plates and plastic forks on our living room coffee table.  On take-out nights we always watched T.V as we ate, which usually consisted of "Married with Children" or "Murder She Wrote".  I still remember separating the scrambled eggs away from the rest of the dish and listening to my grandmother preach about how eggs made your hair grow long.  The things parents say to get you to eat your food!  I wasn't a big egg eater, and as you can see, I never had a problem growing my hair.  Fried rice still remains a favorite to this day, especially on laid back nights in front of the television.

Combination fried rice is amazing with Pouilly-Fuissé (poo-yee-fwee-SAY)!  Pouilly-Fuissé is a dry white wine made from Chardonnay in the Maconnais region of Burgundy, France.  The wine is full-bodied with aromas of lemon, green apple, and mineral.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, the fruit flavors in the wine suddenly come to life making the wine seem fruitier.  Both the wine and food have a similar intensity of flavor, which makes them well suited.  Like with most great pairings, neither the food nor the wine out-do each other.  Pouilly-Fuissé has excellent acidity that helps to cut through the oil and cleanse the palate.  In addition, white Burgundy is amazing with eggs which can be problematic with wine, adding another positive to the pairing.  Other wines to try with fried rice are un-oaked Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Kabinett Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling wines.

Potato Skins with Wine

Getting kids to eat pea's can be a laborious task.  Potatoes on the other-hand are never a problem.  Whether they're fried, baked, mashed, roasted, scalloped, diced or sliced...they're delicious!  Maybe this is why I always liked the toy Mr. Potato Head so much.  He's been entertaining kids since the 1950's with his attachable plastic parts and recently starred in Toy Story 3.  I enjoyed putting his ears where his nose went and his eyes where his mouth went as a child.  It's incredible that a simple toy like this entertained us as children, when we've got toys like the Wii and computer games today.  One thing hasn't changed however, and that's how much we all enjoy potatoes.  Potato skins especially are a great appetizer while watching the game at home, or your favorite bar and enjoying a perfectly paired glass of wine.

I prefer my potato skins fully loaded with extra bacon, cheddar cheese, scallions, chives and a touch of sour cream.  Did I mention BACON!!  There are several wines that work with this dish.  Spanish red wines such as a blend based on Garnacha and Syrah grapes, Syrah itself, and New World Pinot Noir can work beautifully with potato skins.  The wine's themselves have a bacon quality that mirror's the bacon in the dish.  Together, you have a bacon explosion in the mouth!  In addition the bacon fat and cheddar cheese will help to shield the palate from the tannin found in the heavier reds I mentioned, such as Syrah.  Please be careful with the use of sour cream when pairing the wines I have suggested.  Too much sour cream can ruin the wine because some of the wines lack acidity to stand up to it.  If you are a sour cream lover, I would suggest pairing the potato skins with an Oregon Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Alsatian Pinot Gris, Spatlese Riesling, brut sparkling Rose, Rose or brut sparkling wine.