young Sommelier

Calamari with Wine

I caught a big one!

The Story:

Who else eats only the rings?  Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.  You look down at a plate of calamari and see tentacles.  You can't believe you're eating squid in the first place and decide the rings look safe.  Plus, there's a side of marinara sauce to help calm your nerves.  After all, they kind of resemble mini onion rings.

The Pairing:

Calamari is battered and then fried, calling for a wine that not only works with fish, but one that can cut through grease as well.  That's why I selected the 2010 Val do Sosego Albarino (al-bar-EEN-yoh) from the Rias Baixas region of Spain.  I chose Albarino because of how well it complements seafood.  Some say you can taste the sea breeze in these wines.  Additionally, the citrus and green apple notes work nicely with the subtle seafood flavors and the notes of pepper that this particular bottle provides marry nicely with the cracked pepper sprinkled on top of the squid.  The wine's refreshing acidity helps to wash the grease off the tongue and since I like to squeeze lemon over the top of my calamari, the acidity stands up to this as well.  Next time calamari is on the menu see if Albarino is available on the wine list and watch the magic happen!

Comments:

Please leave your comments in the section below!  How many of you have tried calamari?  Have you ever heard of Albarino?  Let's chat!

Red Velvet Cake with Wine

The Story:

First of all, let me state for the record that I fully support making idiotic, ridiculous, totally unachievable New Year's resolutions.  I like to think that I will workout, eat right, cut back on alcohol consumption and stop the use of a word that starts with the letter f.  But for some reason I always forget.  I either suffer from amnesia or a lack of self control, I just haven't figured out which one it is yet.  Like when I make a resolution to cut out sweets.  "What's this?  Red velvet cake!  Guess I'll skip dinner and do an extra 2 hours of cardio so I can enjoy you..."  So this year, I decided to be honest with myself and say F it.  I'm going to do things exactly opposite.  For instance, I plan on drinking more and working out less.  And while working out, I'll incorporate sweets.  When I get upset, I'll shout F the world, buy myself a new puppy and pour another glass. Cheers to bad habits;)

The Pairing:

One of my New Year's resolutions I do plan on sticking with is introducing you to "nerd" wines...a.k.a not Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot or Cab.

Zweigelt (TSVYE-gelt), an Austrian red wine, is killer with red velvet cake.  Austria is known mostly for its whites like the totally hip Gruner Veltliner, pronounced as simply "Groovy" by wine nerds.  This red grape, however, was developed by a "mad" scientist (OK, I don't really know if he was mad) by the name of Fritz Zweigelt in the early 1900s.  It's one of Austria's most widely planted red grapes and makes deliciously fruity, easy to drink, medium to full bodied wines that are full of red fruits, flowers, spice, silky tannins and a nice bite of acidity.  This acidity, by the way, is what makes this wine so darn food friendly.

After a bite of the red velvet cake and then a sip of the 2010 Winzer Krems Zweigelt Kellermeister Privat, I notice how the velvety texture of both the food and the wine mirror each other, creating a creamy mouth-feel.  Then, just as I taste a mixture of blueberries, raspberries and red current, it disappears and the chocolate flavor of the cake takes center stage.  The best part is saved for last when the acidity in the wine stands up to the tangy cream cheese frosting and cleanses the palate.  The two just seem made for each other!  Enjoy!

Comments:

Please let me know your comments in the section below!  What's your favorite cake flavor?  Have you ever tried an Austrian wine like Gruner Veltliner or Zweigelt?  Let's chat!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Wine

The Story:

It seems like being a ghost would be a pretty good gig.  You get to walk through walls, float in the air and scare people.  You can make lights flicker, TVs turn on and trick people by moving their stuff around.  You also get to mess with little kids at slumber parties who play with wigi boards and make pet owners think their dog is crazy for barking at the air.  Best of all, you can ease drop on conversations without anyone knowing you're there or disappear if you don't like a situation.  This could have come in handy on more than one occasion!  What's bad about being a ghost?  Well, the fact that you're dead (and that's a big one) and you are no longer able to enjoy things like pumpkin pancakes with wine, of course!

The Pairing:

I'm a fan of shaking things up a bit and serving breakfast for dinner on special occasions.  Halloween is a great day to show the kids your wild side by dishing up pumpkin pancakes after several hours of working up an appetite trick or treating.  Pour them a glass of milk and you a glass of 2006 Forrest Estate Botrytised Riesling to help unwind.  Of course, if you don't have children or just want to provide your honey with breakfast in bed on Halloween, this wine is perfect since it only has 9% alcohol and won't slow down your day.  I recently sampled this Riesling with candy corn and although the sweetness of the wine somewhat overwhelmed the candy, it was perfect with pumpkin pancakes.  This is probably due to the heaping amount of maple syrup most of us like on our cakes!  The apricot and honey flavors of the wine married well with the pumpkin and spice from the pancakes and the maple flavors of the syrup.  Texturally they're both silky smooth, yet the wine has an incredible natural acidity that helps to wash all the food off the palate.  Cheers and Enjoy!

Comments:

Please leave your comments in the section below!  Do you have any scary ghost stories (my lights flickered the other day)?  Would you rather have pumpkin pancakes for breakfast or dinner, or is there something else you enjoy serving on Halloween?  Let's chat!