Now that we have lived through an unexpected closing down and reopening of life, having a well-stocked home seems more important than ever. For wine lovers, that means being supplied with more than just toilet paper and household cleaners.
As days turned into months, the world seemed more mundane with less choices in how to spend one’s days, pantries and freezers were emptied, and creativity was exhausted. As normality returns, consider adding wine pairings for your favorite on-hand meals and snacks when replenishing pantry and freezer supplies.
Make an otherwise ordinary evening at home a little bit more extraordinary with a delicious wine planned around your preferred at home choices. These suggested wine and food pairings work equally well at home, with takeout options, and when selecting wine for meals in restaurants, too.
Chardonnay is the go-to white varietal for Sommeliers when diners order mixed meals and want a bottle of white for the table. Look for versions made in stainless steel for a lighter style and oaked versions for a fuller-bodied style. Have this on hand to pair with pasta choices like macaroni and cheese or fettuccine Alfredo, grilled or rotisserie chicken, and for more heavily sauced seafood dishes.
Sauvignon Blanc is a classic variety for both shellfish and vegetarian dishes. Its freshness makes it a top choice in the summer, too. As most Sauvignon Blanc is not aged in new oak barrels, many affordable and tasty versions are made around the world.
California and South America tend to have a more rounded feel while France makes white Sancerre, a mineral-driven Sauvignon Blanc or Bordeaux Blanc (typically a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon) for balanced and refreshing old world style. These wines are excellent paired with shrimp or vegetable-based dishes.
Raw, frozen shrimp are easily defrosted, and their versatility has made them a protein mainstay on the Gulf Coast. They can be added to a vegetable stir-fry, skewered and grilled, or quickly sautéed to add to rice or pasta. Keep a bag of frozen vegetables on hand to create a quick stir fry and make dinner a snap; salty soy sauce and butter or oil play well with these crisp, bright whites.
The local wine guys at Economy Liquor recommend New Zealand versions such as the Saint Clair Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc which has zippy acidity.
Sparkling wines do well with an array of cuisines. Their fresh acidity is excellent for cutting through fat and leaving the mouth refreshed for another bite. Their versatility means they pair well not only with fresh, simple seafood dishes but also with an evening at home binge watching Netflix while enjoying salty snacks like popcorn or chips.
Bubbles work well with any type of charcuterie—the cured, salty, and fatty meats are indulgent anytime and when vacuum sealed can have a long lifespan in the fridge. Accompanying them with cheese, olives, and nuts with sweet and savory spreads takes it to another level. Sparkling wines also give panache to take-out meals like fried chicken.
Affordable reds are the right choice for casual, budget friendly meals like hamburgers or pizza. While any favorite red wine will probably satisfy, an inexpensive meal like this may not be the right choice for a high-end Cabernet. Think about enjoying a less pricey, fruity red like a smooth Merlot blend from Bordeaux Superieur or the Côtes de Bordeaux - this type of red is perfect with these simple meals at home.
If Italian-inspired family favorites like lasagna or meatballs are on the menu, wine lovers cannot miss with a Chianti Classico or other Sangiovese-based red blend from Italy.
Big red wines rule on steak night. If a flavorful ribeye is on the grill, it is time to break out the big Cabernet Sauvignon. Filet mignon has more subtle flavors and a more delicate texture and often does better with Pinot Noir.
NY Strips will do well with both of these reds, but they can also be enjoyed with a White Burgundy or Rosé, especially when sliced up on a salad for a lighter, summer take on steak night.
Well-chilled, refreshing wines are the patio ideal for casual sipping during the hot summer months. Light Portuguese Vinho Verde is tasty anytime and mineral-driven Provence Rosés are both easy on the wallet and on the palate. Both work with an array of light snacks and fresh seafood or can simply be sipped on their own.
This month, plan to celebrate Father’s Day with these gift ideas from Economy Liquor.
T.J. at the West End location suggests both a red and a white from northern California.
Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Barrel fermentation and less stirring creates a texturally pleasing and more layered wine, making it an excellent gift for the white wine loving father for $44.99.
Arkenstone Obsidian Estate Cabernet 2014-
A Napa Valley Bordeaux-blend from what has been called a dream vintage. Expect a concentrated, lush, and generous wine that is ready to be enjoyed now and is splurge worthy at $149.99.
Dan at the 23rd Street location suggests two Napa Valley Bordeaux-style blends. Both of his suggestions come from the 2013 vintage which was considered a fantastic year across northern California. Expect concentrated wines with good aging potential which can be enjoyed now or held for later.
Groth Oakville Cabernet 2013 -This wine is a consistent high scorer with reviewers and is desirable for any Cabernet loving Dad at $52.99.
Joseph Phelps Insignia 2013 This wine is a flagship of Napa Valley. It is both complex and elegant and is an indisputable show-stopping splurge for $215.99.